• PCC Students in line at 8:00 am for COVID testing, January 24, 2022, when school re-opens for face-to-face classes (Photo – R. Quan)

      PASADENA, ColoradoBoulevard.net:

      Pasadena City College professors are in the process of filing an unfair labor practice against the college and resisting college orders to go back to teaching in person.

      By Melissa Michelson

      Some classes have had to be cancelled due to COVID-testing chaos on campus. Here’s a timeline of events:

      – On January 19, 2021, the PCC Board of Trustees met, virtually. All public comments made were in favor of extending remote teaching, but the PCC Board voted to resume in-person classes.

      The next day, January 20, professors protested the forced return to campus in front of the college.

      In the absence of a campus-wide student survey, an individual PCC student started a Change.org petition to continue remote learning (As of January 25, 2,174 have signed it.)

      On Friday afternoon, January 21, after a 7-hour negotiation session in which the District would not change Monday’s scheduled return date, the PCC Faculty Association (PCCFA) announced it would file an unfair labor lawsuit against the college, citing safety issues affecting both faculty and students.

      It is our strong belief that for the health and safety of your students, yourselves, and your families, that you remain remote.
      ~ PCC Faculty Association, Jan. 21, 2022

      • On Saturday, January 22, in contrast to no-wait times earlier in the month, there were 2 ½ hour waits for COVID testing as students and faculty got tested. Lines of cars circled for 5-6 blocks. (See PCC COVID Testing Fiasco)  Professors and students that test positive are not allowed to be on campus. (Read PCC’s What to Know about Coming to Campus). Meanwhile, the District and union met again, but negotiations failed.

      In a Sunday morning email, on January 23, the union told faculty “Again, the District provided no justification for rushing back to in-person classes in the midst of the largest COVID surge in history. We are appalled at the District’s continued callous and illegal disregard for the health and safety of faculty and students.”

      Six minutes later, in an email to faculty and staff, the president of PCC revealed, “The District presented a draft proposal that included enhanced testing requirements and approximately $1,200 per member in incentives to faculty for COVID-19 testing and booster vaccinations.” President Erika Endrijonas also tried to assure professors, “…we are the most prepared for this transition thanks to our testing protocols, our air purification systems, our mandatory masking, and our classrooms at 50% capacity.  About testing waits, the president said that on Saturday 1700 tests had been administered in just one day, which is what is usually administered in one week.

      Hours-long waits continued on Sunday and into Monday, with professors having to cancel classes because the results were not provided or emailed.

      On Sunday afternoon, around 220 faculty attended a union meeting on Zoom where professors discussed their concerns and those of their students and shared what their deans had been telling them:

      • that they would not be allowed to conduct a Zoom class in their classroom while their students are at home on Zoom;
      • that there would not be anyone to check the COVID testing results, and that would fall on individual professors to do;
      • that to make it on time to start a 9am class the professor could get to the testing location at 6am.

      The meeting lasted an hour and a half.

      On Sunday night, the union emailed faculty sample language to inform their students and deans of their decision should they decide to continue working remotely.

       PCCFA’s sample email to student from professor:

      ‘I am continuing to work remotely because LA County is in the midst of the largest COVID-19 surge to date.  I do not want to endanger my health and safety, or that of my family and students. Be assured that I will conduct our class meeting and office hours remotely as we have been doing for the past two weeks. The faculty has made the safe and community-minded decision to remain remote during this period of high transmission.’

      PCCFA’s sample email from professor to dean:

      ‘I am working remotely. I do not want to endanger my health and safety, my families and my students. I will perform all the duties of my job remotely as I have been for the last two weeks.’

      On Monday, January 24, 2022, six hours after classes started on the first day back on campus, some faculty received notices about masks: “Each faculty and staff member will be provided a KN95 mask. These masks can be worn effectively for a week, so you will be provided sufficient masks for each month. These KN95 masks are for faculty and staff ONLY. Surgical grade masks will be provided for students by the faculty or administration office…. A supply of surgical masks will be in the faculty mailboxes in Administration.” To date, no campus-wide instruction about checking testing results or student mask usage has been disseminated.

      At the end of the day in an email to staff, Special Assistant to the President Alexander Boekelheide acknowledged the backlog of COVID testing results and that starting Tuesday, January 25, two walk-up locations in parking lots would replace the drive-through and walk-up testing locations in order “to better allocate personnel and resources to keep our process flowing.”  Finally, he wrote “No Changes to Class Format: The delays in testing today caused unscheduled cancellations of some classes, and we are sorry for any inconvenience this caused. Please understand that classes are not permitted to be moved to remote learning, and all courses listed as face-to-face in the Schedule of Classes must be held as such.”

      It is currently unknown how many professors are boycotting face-to-face classes and are remaining on Zoom or online.

      > PCC COVID Dashboard (Vaccinations, Exemptions and COVID tests)

      > PCC’s COVID Dashboard data historical tracking since October 2021

      > PCC’s vaccination requirement reads “ All students, faculty, and staff will need to provide proof of an accepted COVID-19 vaccination, or a qualifying exemption based on medical or religious grounds before being allowed in a campus classroom, facility or office.” Last semester, students that did not upload proof of vaccination or exemption were dropped.

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