I expected there would be raucous protest outside the United States Capitol as Congress counted the Electoral College votes but never imagined that rioters would breach the building and disrupt the process. It was shocking and frightening to watch congresspersons hiding under seats and donning gas masks while frenzied groups smashed windows and vandalized chambers.
Fortunately, the story does not end there, and Congress reconvened to resume their work. Ultimately, Congress certified President-elect Joe Biden’s win and that very act inspired me to conclude that we could accomplish a great deal over the next four years given what we had accomplished in the past four years.
Despite limited resources, we have provided excellent programs and services to meet the various educational and career goals of our diverse students and increase their success. We have been undaunted in the face of the rescission of DACA, xenophobia, volatile regulation of international student enrollments, and an inadequate pandemic response, but those issues required attention and district resources that could have otherwise supported students. Imagine the benefits to students if the next four years cultivate a safer and more welcoming climate in addition to saving resources spent on legal and regulatory challenges.
Our district mission says in part:
We are driven by an equity agenda and … are committed to providing an accessible, quality undergraduate education dedicated to developing a broadly educated and socially responsible community that supports an equitable and just future for California.
I am confident that we will continue to be driven by an equity agenda and that our community will support an equitable and just future for California and the United States. Despite the fact there is much difficult work ahead, we have proven we are up to the task.
Given the recent Santa Clara County change to Purple Tier due to a surge in COVID cases and expected continued increase in transmission of this virus, especially as we enter the holiday season and colder weather, please keep yourself and others safe by wearing a mask, conducting frequent hand-washing, social/physical distancing, and practicing other preventive measures applicable to your home and work areas. Your health and safety are our utmost concern.
Please note, if you do get sick, have a positive COVID test, or are exposed to someone who tested positive, please adhere to the following.
Notifying the District if You Have Symptoms, Have Tested Positive for COVID, or Were Exposed
Regardless of whether you work on campus or remotely, if you experience COVID-like symptoms, have been exposed to someone who has tested positive, or if you have tested positive, you are required to notify your supervisor or the District Office of Human Resources. Your supervisor will then report your case to the District’s COVID Response Team who will conduct the required follow up.
In accordance with County guidelines, the District is required to track and report cases, and to conduct contact tracing to assist the county in its role to monitor and respond to the pandemic and prevent transmission of the virus.
The District Office of Human Resources will contact you to discuss the extent to which your situation is affecting your ability to work, options for continuing pay, if needed, and next steps.
As with any medical information, please be assured information regarding your health condition is considered confidential and will not be shared except as required or allowed by law or regulation.
For more complete information on Employee Expectations, please see the full document located on the District Office of Human Resources webpage at http://hr.fhda.edu/_covid-19/index.html
Revised Campus Visit Schedule and Protocol Reminders
Wednesday, December 2, 2020, and Wednesday, December 16, 2020
The District has tomorrow scheduled as a day for non-essential employees to return to campus to retrieve items or gather other resources necessary to continue their work. Please note that in order to return to campus everyone must follow safety protocols, including wearing a mask at all times while on District property, maintaining physical distancing, and observing frequent hand washing/sanitizing.
In light of the surge in cases and the recent holiday any employee who may have traveled or participated in gatherings with others outside their immediate household should follow the County guidance to observe the required quarantine period (14 days) and postpone their visit to a later date. Further, for employees who are concerned about the number of employees currently scheduled to come on to campus (50+ at each campus), a later visit may be appropriate. As a solution, the District has also scheduled Wednesday, December 16, 2020 (two weeks from tomorrow’s visit date) as an additional opportunity for employees to come onto campus. If you scheduled a visit for December 2 but now have decided not to do so, please follow your site procedures for notifying the appropriate person of your change in plans.
With appreciation for your cooperation and understanding during these challenging times,
On September 16, I wrote to you saying we needed to plan on continuing to offer instruction and services remotely through Winter Quarter 21. We are proceeding accordingly and there will be extremely few exceptions to the work-from-home rule during this period, primarily involving allied health programs, child care, police, grounds, custodial, technology, business services, bookstore, library reserves, and facilities staff coming to campus as needed. Students and staff will work onsite on a very limited basis with all safety precautions in place, including utilization of a contact tracing app that we continue to modify as we gain more experience.
I also indicated that our plans for Spring Quarter 2021 would likely be decided in January, but you and our students need certainty sooner than January. Our colleagues with responsibilities for scheduling spring classes need direction now as to the possibility and feasibility of expanding on campus instruction. Given the current surge in COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations, and stays in intensive care, we must stay the course through the end of Spring Quarter 21 and limit programs and services as indicated above. Santa Clara County is expected to announce increased restrictions next week and I will update you with any changes that would affect our district.
The Coast Conference met today to poll its 17 colleges as to their plans to opt in or out of competition for Spring 1 and Spring 2 sports as designated by the California Community College Athletic Association. I attended along with Thuy Nguyen, Lloyd Holmes, Kulwant Singh, and Eric Mendoza. Colleges that opted in indicated they were doing so if testing costs were affordable. They still have the choice to opt out at any time they determine they can’t afford testing.
Foothill-De Anza and others opted out on the basis of health and safety and that there is no assurance that testing will become affordable for our colleges. Waiting to decide would postpone the inevitable. It is our belief that students are better served by knowing now rather than later. We are concerned for their safety and that of their families if they are exposed to surges in COVID-19 that are considered likely given cold and flu season and large gatherings over the holidays. We know this is a source of great disappointment but we find the health risk to be even greater. By the time you read this, California may have already reported its one millionth case of COVID-19.
The current estimate to test Foothill-De Anza student athletes and employees for Spring 1 and Spring 2 is more than $1.5 million. This does not include the testing that would be required of game officials and visiting teams whose home counties would not have as strict a set of requirements as Santa Clara County. In addition, this cost does not include other expenses such as proper cleaning after each event, housing, transportation, etc.
In light of the current expectations for a mostly virtual Spring 21, we are developing a return-to-campus plan that would provide clear guidance as conditions change and we see opportunities to offer more programs and services on campus. Because of the enormity and complexity of meeting changing requirements, we have hired Pat James, who currently serves as an OEI professional development instructor, to monitor, update, and document regulations and our compliance. She will also assist us in communicating processes and decision points so that there is general understanding of who makes what decisions when. We will also convene a districtwide Return-to-Campus Task Force in January to coordinate work already accomplished at the colleges and Central Services regarding guiding principles, prioritizations, and logistics. Return-to-campus is still a work in progress, but we are committed to investing the time necessary to ensure that when we can return, it will be done with both safety and clarity.
You may not fully appreciate that you have made us a model district thanks to your dedication, resilience, and empathy. I was interviewed by La Voz this week and the reporter told me that he had talked with an international student about her experience this fall. She said: “I didn’t feel welcome by America but I felt welcome by De Anza.” I have no doubt this response is emblematic of Foothill-De Anza. We have our flaws but continually strive to make all our students welcome and successful!
With deep appreciation,
What painful times we live in. The good news is that we are in this together and no matter what happens, our students and their success will always to be our raison d'etre.
I want to take this opportunity to congratulate our incumbent trustees Gilbert Wong, Peter Landsberger, and Laura Casas who have won reelection. We all look forward to their continued leadership and commitment to our equity agenda that is so prominent in the board priorities that they adopted this past Monday.
Please take care of yourselves and each other as we move forward in fulfilling our mission. Foothill-De Anza is an astounding community in so many ways and I thank you for the privilege of working with you.
I am pleased to announce that Myisha Washington has been selected to serve as Interim Vice Chancellor of Human Resources and Equal Opportunity from November 1, 2020 through June 30, 2021. Please join me in thanking her for taking on these duties that are monumental in normal times let alone what we are currently experiencing locally, nationally, and globally.
Below is an excerpt from her resume that shows her progression from 2004 to the present day in increasingly responsible human resources positions at Foothill-De Anza.
• Plan and facilitate appropriate training for all employees.
• Assist in the development and present training on human resources related topics and procedures, and as required to effectively implement collective bargaining agreements; assist with providing direction and development of new employee orientation and staff development programs.
• Monitored and maintained complex HR technology systems and software and generates related reports as required; prepared and maintained a variety of files, records and reports.
• Served as substitute District resource person to management and unions for negotiations teams and meet and confer groups.EDUCATION
B.A. Visual and Public Art (Cum Laude), California State University, Monterey Bay
Let me close by thanking the faculty, classified professionals, and administrators who served on this search committee. By the end of Fall 2020, we will invite appointments to the search committee for the permanent vice chancellor so that we can advertise and interview during Winter 2021 and hire by July 1, 2021.
Chancellor Eloy Oakley, head of the California Community Colleges, sent a message to CEOs on September 10 which included the following:
“I have spoken to several of you about plans you are considering for instruction in Spring ’21. I fully support that each college announce sooner rather than later that you will continue to be primarily online/remote for the remainder of the academic year. The more certainty we can provide our students and communities the better we will allow them to plan accordingly. This allows our faculty to be fully prepared for the remainder of the academic year. If things improve we can always bring students and staff back to campus. I can’t stress this enough, make the call soon. To reinforce this choice know that today Chancellor White announced that the CSU will continue to be online in the Spring and in my discussions with President Drake he is seriously contemplating doing the same. Once CSU and UC are committed in the Spring it will become increasing harder for our colleges to consider bringing non-CTE students back to campus.”
Chancellor Oakley’s message was aimed at colleges on the semester system, but the same need for certainty applies to us as well. If you attended my open office hour on September 9, you heard me say that we do need to plan on continuing to offer instruction and services remotely through Winter Quarter 2021. There will be extremely few exceptions to the work-from-home rule during this period, primarily involving allied health programs, child care, police, grounds, custodial, technology, business services, bookstore, and facilities staff coming to campus as needed. Students and staff will work onsite on a very limited basis with all safety precautions in place, including utilization of the contact tracing app that we are currently piloting. Plans for our Spring Quarter 2021 will likely be decided in January.
Striking a balance between the need for employee flexibility and services for students, the campuses will operate on a five-day schedule through Winter 2021, with the option for departments to operate on a four-day schedule based on approval from their administrator. Central Services departments will continue to operate on a four-day schedule, with the option to operate on a five-day schedule based on approval from their vice chancellor. Please be sure that your days and hours of service can be readily found and are clearly communicated.
It is impossible to adequately thank you for your resilience, creativity, and patience throughout the past six months. I reflect back on the inspiring year-end celebrations in June and am confident that we will continue to find ways to build and maintain a sense of community and connection for students and ourselves. Let’s be each other’s COVID Response Team!
Looking forward to seeing you for opening days.
I would like to provide clarification and an update on the planning we are doing for the November 1 deadline for budget reduction proposals currently in progress. First, any proposed changes would only be implemented if we could not start 21-22 with a balanced budget. This will depend on actual revenue for 20-21, state funding decisions for community colleges, and possible federal emergency assistance. In addition, the previously published timeline for decisions and employee notice of layoffs would only be implemented should your November 1 plan include the possible use of a filled position.
AS AN ALTERNATIVE TO FILLED POSITIONS, YOU ARE ENCOURAGED TO IDENTIFY ONE-TIME FUNDS TO REACH YOUR TARGET.
The November 1 plan was never the same as previous budget reductions where we had to remedy a structural deficit and eliminate ongoing costs that were typically filled positions. Because you will not be required to identify permanent reductions for a July 1, 2021 implementation, you need only identify the source of funds to be used if revenue fell short of projections for 21-22. For example, and as an illustration only, if an area with multiple accounts were asked to identify solutions for the shortfall, the November plan might include a combination of 19-20 carry forward, capital outlay, expense transfers to grants/categoricals, salary savings from unfilled positions or unpaid leaves, enterprise funds, etc. This will allow us to “buy time” in order to continue our planning processes for more permanent changes, should they ultimately be necessary.
AS OF SEPTEMBER 1, THE REVISED REDUCTION TARGET IS $9,000,000.
I am thrilled to report that revised projections and closing figures for 2019-2020 from Business Services instill hope for a smaller deficit. Vice Chancellor Cheu is preparing a slideshow showing the changes that have occurred over the past months. She will share this information at my office hour from 11:00-12:00 on Wednesday, September 9, and it will also be posted on my website.
I hope this update and clarification of what is being asked by November 1 assures you that we strive to protect our full and part-time employees because our people make this district the incredible organization that it is!
With sincerest thanks for your tireless dedication,
As our intrepid firefighters gain more control over the Bay Area’s fires and with the weather cooperating, the air is improving enough in Los Altos Hills for previously cleared individuals to return to Foothill as of Thursday, August 27. This reopening applies only to those essential workers whose duties require them to be on-site and a very limited number of students, faculty, and staff who are involved in allied health programs. Because the air in Cupertino does not appear to be improving, De Anza essential workers will continue working remotely until Monday, August 31.
I want to thank Chief Danny Acosta, Officer Jeff McCoy, and Chancellor’s Cabinet and their teams for all their work over the past week (including nights and weekends) to put together contingency plans to address fire emergencies, including the elaborate planning required to open campus parking lots to evacuating vehicles, relocation assistance, and firefighting staging. We even determined where a helicopter would land were that necessary!
While the smoke has begun to clear, there are challenges ahead for many colleagues whose lives have been upended by the fires, and the Foothill-De Anza family is rallying. The colleges and Central Services are seeking information about who has been affected to determine what we can do to help. To date, these funds have been established:
Karen has written about her harrowing escape, the fire’s destruction of her canyon community and her gratitude.
https://www.gofundme.com/f/karen-smith-lost-her-cabin-to-czu-wildfire - recently set up by Karen
President Holmes would like to tailor assistance to individual needs because some have been non-financial such as housing or animal care. Please send requests to firstname.lastname@example.org.
https://www.gofundme.com/f/karen-villlaba-was-affected-by-the-wildfire - sponsored by the CDC at De Anza
If you have been evacuated and need assistance, or know of a Central Services colleague who does, please contact Monica Garcia at email@example.com. The Senate has limited funds available and will do its best to help. To support this effort, click HERE for a classified senate payroll deduction form.
During this time of upheaval, if you have fire- or health-related circumstances that affect your ability to work – for example, having to evacuate or caring for someone who is sick or affected by the fires – please let your supervisor know the particulars of your situation. Some people may need to set up remote work stations in new locations and others may need to take leave. The district will be as flexible as possible in meeting these needs.
Let me conclude by saying how proud I am of the generosity and kindness that have already been demonstrated by our Foothill-De Anza family. Crises are said to bring out the best and worst in people and this latest has certainly brought out the best in all of you.
With deepest appreciation,
Thank you for all your good work serving nearly 21,000 students during Summer 2020, resulting in an increase of more than 3% full-time equivalent students (FTES) over last year! For the past month, I have delighted in stories from parents and grandparents praising the quality of instruction at Foothill and De Anza and marveling at how much more their loved ones enjoyed their experiences with you in comparison to a number of universities. Bravi, one and all!
Given that Santa Clara County continues to be on California’s COVID watch list, the colleges and district offices will remain closed through January 3, 2021. This means we will continue offering services remotely. There will be extremely few exceptions to the work-from-home rule during this period, primarily involving police, grounds, custodial, technology, business services, bookstore, and facilities staff who will work onsite on a very limited basis with all safety precautions in place. Please join me in thanking all our colleagues who provide these services that are so critical to the continuity of our educational mission.
The decision to continue remote operations is driven by our desire to protect the health of students, faculty, and staff. The County of Santa Clara Public Health Department has not yet cleared colleges and universities to reopen, and the attached graph leads us to proceed with an abundance of caution.