San Mateo County Community College District Courses Remain Mainly Online for Spring 2021 Term

The three colleges of the San Mateo County Community College District – Cañada College, College of San Mateo and Skyline College – will continue to hold courses in online and distance education modalities, as well as provide most student services remotely, through the end of the Spring 2021 semester. The San Mateo County Community College District Board of Trustees formally ratified the decision in their meeting on Sept. 23.

“The COVID-19 pandemic continues to disrupt higher education along with every other sector,” said SMCCCD Chancellor Mike Claire. “This decision allows our employees to plan ahead for a successful spring semester, and it lets students know what to expect. Staying online is the best way to keep our students, faculty, and staff healthy and safe.”

The Board’s decision was based on the recommendation of the Chancellor and supported by a recommendation from the District Academic Senate. Faculty, staff and students have expressed a need to have as much time as possible to plan for the spring term.

Most employees will also continue to work remotely through May 2021.

In-person instruction will continue for certain essential infrastructure sectors–healthcare, emergency services, and transportation fields, as well as critical STEM labs in key transfer areas, and to meet licensing requirements for career education programs–in order to train first responders and healthcare workers to address urgent community needs and to provide direct pathways to employment. Due to criteria set by the State that include requirements for social distancing, classroom/lab sanitization procedures, and other health precautions, the number of people at SMCCCD campuses will be kept at a minimum.

During summer 2020, Colleges provided a massive professional development program to train instructors in online education. Approximately 600 college faculty participated, as well as dual enrollment faculty, faculty instructors, and other support staff. The training program was supported by more than $1.4 million in Federal CARES Act funding as well as District funds.

The District has launched a number of programs to help students cope with the ongoing crisis. Drive-Up WiFi service is available six days a week to help students attend online classes and complete their schoolwork. In a partnership with Second Harvest of Silicon Valley, the District now offers free food distribution on Wednesdays at Skyline College, and Fridays at College of San Mateo. The District is distributing more than $4.2 million in federal CARES Act funding to students to assist with financial challenges. The three Colleges have been distributing loaner Chromebooks, WiFi hotspots and other supplies to students. Healthcare services are available via telemedicine free of charge to students.

Free Drive-Up Wi-Fi Now Available for SMCCCD Students

The San Mateo County Community College District now offers free Wi-Fi access for students at all three campuses. The new “Drive-Up Wi-Fi” service allows students to park in a specially designated parking lot on the campus of their choice, where they can access Wi-Fi to attend online classes or do schoolwork.

The program was made possible by an all-District team of staff and administrators who have been working to design a system that provides convenient student Wi-Fi access while maintaining District health and safety requirements during the pandemic.

Reservations are required. Students can pick the campus most convenient to them, fill out the Eventbrite reservation form, print or download their Eventbrite ticket, and follow the instructions. Restrooms are available. Students have in/out privileges for the Drive-Up Wi-Fi lot between 6am – 8pm.

Drive-Up Wi-Fi Website/Reservations

Student Drive-Up Wi-Fi Hours
Cañada College:
Monday – Friday, 6 am – 8 pm

College of San Mateo:
Monday – Saturday (except Fridays), 6 am – 8 pm

Skyline College:
Monday – Friday (except Wednesdays), 6 am – 8 pm

Student Drive-Up Wi-Fi Rules

  • Review COVID-19 symptoms and stay home if you are sick 
  • Make a reservation on Eventbrite and bring your ticket to campus
  • Check in at the Public Safety Access Point
  • Drive to the Wi-Fi lot and park in any space with a GREEN cone
  • Only members of the same household in each vehicle
  • All vehicle occupants must remain in the vehicle except to use restrooms
  • Read and follow all rules on your Eventbrite ticket
  • Abide by the Student Code of Ethics

For more information, please see the District Drive-Up Wi-Fi website.  

San Mateo County Community College District Food Insecurity Program Expands to Skyline College

More than 19,000 Families Have Received Food To Date

The San Mateo County Community College District Emergency Food Distribution has added a second location at Skyline College to its weekly services. The program launched on Wednesday, September 2.

The CSM food distribution has served more than 19,000 families since it began on April 3. With Second Harvest locations in the Bay Area running at full capacity, there was a need for additional locations. Skyline College’s SparkPoint Center partnered with Second Harvest to establish the new program.

The weekly Emergency Food Distribution Schedule is now:

Skyline College
Wednesdays, 11am – 1pm
Enter campus via Skyline Drive

College of San Mateo
Fridays, 11am – 1pm
Enter campus via West Hillsdale Blvd

The SMCCCD District Emergency Food Distribution continues to provide a critical basic need for the community during the COVID-19 crisis, helping to offset the effects of unemployment and school closures. The program has made a significant impact since starting in April:  

  • 19,100 families served
  • 754,540 pounds of food distributed
  • $1.13 million in groceries costs offset for families

Food boxes are supplied through a partnership with Second Harvest of Silicon Valley. Each family receives a 39-pound box of food worth about $60. The food distribution is open to the public and serves a large number of college students as well as community members.

Prior to the pandemic, Second Harvest of Silicon Valley was already providing food to about 260,000 people per month in the Bay Area. By June, that number skyrocketed to more than 500,000 people per month. The demand has remained at that level and is expected to continue for another 12-18 months. 

Other SMCCCD Food Distribution Programs
In addition, the District purchases and mails Safeway food cards, each worth $75-150, to about 800 food-insecure students each month. Since March, the district has sent more than 4,800 Safeway cards worth $467,000 to students who need food.

The San Mateo County Community Colleges Foundation has set up an emergency fund to support these efforts as well as emergency scholarships and other student needs. Please visit foundation.smccd.edu to support our local students.

View our story on YouTube

Visit Second Harvest of Silicon Valley

Statement to the SMCCCD Community on Racism and Violence

June 2, 2020

To Our SMCCCD Colleagues, Students, Community and Friends:

Like many of you, in reflecting on recent events that led to the tragic, senseless and preventable deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Sean Reed and Tony McDade, we are trying to find the appropriate words for our thoughts and emotions. While we know and understand what is happening across our country, we struggle to comprehend it.  It is vexing to start a note by admitting that we are at a loss for how to adequately convey our feelings; nevertheless, this is where we find ourselves.  

All we can say is if you are angry, then you are in good company because we are, too.  If you are heartbroken and in pain, then you are in good company because we are, too.  If you are struggling to understand a world in which this can continue to happen, we are, too.  If you feel helpless, we do, too.  If you want change and accountability, we do, too.  And if you want to stop the senseless killing, oppressing and marginalizing of people of color and you want to condemn racist, bigoted and hurtful words and deeds, then you are in good company because we do, too.

We understand that we must reconcile words and actions because both matter.  The words we say to one another matter.  The words we say about one another matter.  The words we say about our community and culture matter.  Those words we say are reflections of our values.  Those words inform and explain our actions, and taken together, define who we are and what we believe.

Let’s be clear about our values and beliefs.  We have always—and will always—fight racism and bigotry and homophobia and xenophobia and all transgressions against people where we find it.  We remain committed to ensuring our classrooms, our campuses and our offices are places where a person from any background can seek our trust and realize our kindness.  We value every person as a human being and believe in their right to exist, be treated with dignity, and to have resources they need to live safely and thrive.  We value a community and culture that builds social justice and ensures equity, diversity, opportunity and inclusion.

We have made meaningful strides in our District, and we have much more to do because we recognize that, like other institutions of higher education, we may unintentionally perpetuate structural racism or other forms of oppression.  We are committed to immediately and critically examining our policies, procedures and practices to eliminate those structures that perpetuate racism and present obstacles to progress.  We must engage in thoughtful, courageous and tough conversations about how we treat each other and how members of our District family and community are treated.  We must take the time to truly listen to and understand our colleagues, students and neighbors with open hearts and minds. And we must be willing to step into the moment to stop wrongs where we see them and support those who need our help.

This will not be the only time we speak on the issue of dismantling racism and discrimination—it simply can’t be.  The range of emotions that are going through each of us is testament to the need for transformation and healing.  It is our responsibility—to ourselves and to our future—to harness this anger and frustration and hurt and despair, and use it to bring about real and lasting change. 

In that spirit, we will need your inspiration—your thoughts and ideas—on how to bring about that change.  But before we get to actions and solutions, we believe it is essential to express this panorama of emotions—through words, art, music and whatever means best allows you to express yourself.  Each campus will be holding a series of community conversations and all are encouraged to participate.

We can’t guarantee the work we have been doing and will continue to do will bring about the perfection we seek, because it won’t.  We can’t guarantee that our actions will be quick and precise, because they won’t.  But we can guarantee that if we all support each other and force the tough conversations and decisions, then we can give this struggle a hell of a fight.

In solidarity and hope,

Mike Claire, Chancellor
Jamillah Moore, President, Cañada College
Jannett Jackson, Interim President, Skyline College
Kim Lopez, Acting President, College of San Mateo
Jeramy Wallace, President, District Academic Senate
Mitchell Bailey, Vice Chancellor/Chief of Staff
Tom Bauer, Vice Chancellor, Auxiliary and Community Services
Aaron McVean, Vice Chancellor, Educational Services and Planning
Jose Nunez, Vice Chancellor, Facilities and Public Safety
Jing Luan, Provost, International Education
Bernata Slater, Chief Financial Officer
David Feune, Director, Human Resources

San Mateo County Community College District Launches Massive Professional Development Program to Prepare Professors for Online Instruction

The San Mateo County Community College District is providing summer professional development to 1,000 instructors, counselors, and student support staff at Cañada College, College of San Mateo, and Skyline College. The 25-hour training program involves technical training, mentoring and peer support to enhance online education across the community college district.   

With the COVID-19 pandemic forcing most Bay Area colleges to remain in online, distance education, or hybrid formats, the training will help to enhance the quality of the learning experience this fall.

The scope of the training program is massive, providing professional development for 650 college faculty and hundreds of counselors, staff, and administrators. The training program is supported by more than $1.4 million in Federal CARES Act Funding, as well as District funds.

“This is a sweeping program to support our faculty in providing the very best online education possible,” said Michael Claire, Chancellor of the San Mateo County Community College District. “I am so proud of the way our faculty, staff, and students made the sudden adjustment to online learning when the virus struck this winter. We are committed to working with our faculty to offer best-practice online courses and keep our students on track throughout this pandemic.”   

The new training program, called Quality Online Teaching & Learning (QOTL), provides foundational instruction in five key areas:

  1. Use of technology for teaching online
  2. Digital literacy
  3. Best practices for online communication
  4. Educational equity in online courses
  5. Student readiness through support resources

The 25-hour training program is led by highly experienced online teachers from the District’s own rank of faculty. These facilitators guide class cohorts through a set of standards that have been established by the state Online Education Initiative and a rubric for online courses developed by the Peralta Community College District.

The District is also involved in a large professional development program for San Mateo County schoolteachers. SMCCCD’s Community, Continuing, and Corporate Education division partnered with the San Mateo County Office of Education to design a summer series of two-week workshops designed to help teachers teach online. The program will prepare about 350 teachers this summer. See more at the Office of Education website.

Food Insecurity Program

San Mateo County Community College District Food Insecurity Program Reaches More Than 10,000 Families

When San Mateo County sheltered in place in March, faculty and staff at the San Mateo County Community College District knew it would hurt its most vulnerable community college students. The District had already established a $1 million program to get healthy food to hundreds of students with food insecurity at Cañada College, College of San Mateo, and Skyline College. With students losing jobs and campus food pantries forced to close, the food insecurity problem was about to get worse.

The District mobilized to start emergency food distribution on the College of San Mateo campus. Cañada College’s Adolfo Leiva and District Vice Chancellor Tom Bauer formed a partnership with Second Harvest of Silicon Valley. By April 3, the San Mateo County Community College District Emergency Food Distribution was up and running.

SMCCCD Food Distribution

View the video on YouTube

Every Friday from 11 am to 1 pm at CSM, District employees and community volunteers distribute fresh food supplied by Second Harvest of Silicon Valley. Each family receives a 39-pound box of food worth about $60. The food distribution is open to the public and serves a large number of college students as well as community members.

As of Friday, June 19, the District has distributed nearly 400,000 pounds of food, worth nearly $600,000, to more than 10,000 families.

In addition, the District purchases and mails Safeway food cards to its list of food-insecure students once a month. Since March, the district has sent more than 3,400 Safeway cards worth $331,000 to students who need food.

“I want our students and our community to know that we are here for you,” said Michael Claire, chancellor, San Mateo Community College District. “As we continue to work to flatten the curve against COVID-19, as we will continue to work to help them through this very difficult time.”

The San Mateo County Community Colleges Foundation has set up an emergency fund to support these efforts as well as emergency scholarships and other student needs. Please visit foundation.smccd.edu to support our local students.

Census Training August 2020

San Mateo County Community College District Partners with 2020 Census to Train 2,000 New Enumerators

The Census is the largest peacetime mobilization of people in the United States. This year the 2020 Census is preparing to contact more than 100,000 housing units in San Mateo County that have not yet responded to the 2020 Census. To accomplish this our local Area Census Office needs to train 2,000 new employees – called enumerators – to conduct these face-to-face interviews.

The three colleges of the San Mateo County Community College District—Cañada College, College of San Mateo, and Skyline College—are providing sanitized classroom space for the training program.

“The Census is critically important in determining funding for critical educational, social, housing and transportation services and resources for our county,” said SMCCCD Chancellor Mike Claire. “I cannot think of a more important use of our college facilities than for training the people who will do this important work to ensure that everyone in our county is counted in the Census.”

The Census enumerator training program entails eight days of face-to-face, in-home, and online instruction. Workers begin with a three-hour session in which they take a required oath and receive training on the digital devices used in the Census interviews. That three-hour session is the component being held at the college campuses. 

“We are so grateful for this partnership with the San Mateo County Community College District. The enthusiasm from the District, and district staff in helping to ensure we have a successful count in San Mateo County is unparalleled,” said Sonny Le, Partnership Specialist. “This allows us to run a safe, efficient training program that will prepare our enumerators to go into the field so San Mateo County can receive their fair share of federal resources.”

So far, San Mateo County’s Census response rate is 73.2%. The average for California counties is 63.4%. Census workers must interview individuals in more than 100,000 housing units in San Mateo County in eight weeks.

Training will take place from July 31 to August 5. About 200 trainees will be on each campus each day, using five classrooms on each campus in order to maintain social distancing. Trainees and instructors will wear face coverings and undergo health screening before entering campuses. College staff will sanitize each classroom at the end of each day.

There is still time for those who would like to self-respond online. Go to 2020census.gov.

Summer request Form for Student Technology Needs

Do you know of a student who will need to borrow a Chromebook or other technology for summer term? Please share this Summer Technology Request form with colleagues or students so that we can get students what they need for summer classes.  Students may fill out the form directly, or faculty/staff may make a request for them. Thank you for helping to get the word out! 

Graduates Will Receive Congratulatory Email Messages, Celebration Materials

Cañada College, College of San Mateo, and Skyline College will be emailing the Class of 2020 a virtual congratulations package. Having postponed commencement exercises until it is safe for mass gatherings, we will want to congratulate all the District’s graduates. Each graduate will receive:

  • Congratulations video from the college president in full regalia
  • Downloadable/printable lawn sign and social media filters 
  • Grads will be encouraged to post a photo on social media, which we will feed into a commencement photo grid “live feed” on college commencement pages 
  • Reminder that they will be invited to participate in a ceremony in the future, once gatherings are safe 

The District will also run a two-page congratulations ad in the San Mateo Daily Journal, listing the name of each graduate. Congratulations messages will go out soon!