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.

Working from Home Guidelines

The District’s goal is to ensure that all essential District operations are maintained during COVID-19 with most employees working remotely and a limited number on-site. Realizing that under these new operating parameters employees working remotely will have questions and needs regarding their new remote worksites, the District has prepared these guidelines.

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Employee Work Expectations

We have asked supervisors to be accommodating, flexible, patient, and understanding, however employees are reminded of work expectations while working remotely.

  • Check District-related email, telephone, or other designated communication methods on a consistent basis as if the employee were working at their regularly assigned college/District work site.
  • Adhere to professionalism, productivity, performance, communication, timeliness of assignments, and responsiveness standards, and to comply with all District (as well as their program/department) policies and procedures.
  • Classified employees are expected to adhere to their assigned work schedule. Changes to the work schedule or requests for overtime require prior approval in accordance with the procedures established by their supervisor. Requests for sick, vacation, and other leaves of absence shall be made in accordance with established department/program procedures.

Safety Standards

  • The employee confirms that they have a suitable place to work remotely and that to the best of their knowledge the workplace is safe from conditions that could pose a hazard to health and safety or danger to District-owned equipment.
  • Comply with all District policies and standards for safeguarding and protecting any confidential business information, personally identifiable information, and all other sensitive information they possess. The employee shall ensure confidential, personally identifiable, and all other sensitive information discussed via any form of communication is conducted in a manner consistent with District policies and procedures and protects the information from unauthorized disclosure.


Most remote worksite needs can be addressed by making adjustments to a workspace. See Working from Home ergonomics presentation. If these adjustments do not address workspace needs, an ergonomic assessment may be recommended. Prior to an ergonomic assessment, the following steps should be taken.

  • The employee shall discuss ergonomic needs to work remotely with their supervisor prior to having Human Resources assess the need.
  • The employee will need to complete the Working from Home Ergonomics Assessment Request Form. A Human Resources representative will contact the employee to conduct a virtual workplace assessment and determine the need.

Technology and Equipment

  • The employee and the supervisor shall determine the minimum equipment and software necessary for the employee to complete assignments from the remote worksite in a timely, efficient, and professional manner.
  • In determining which equipment (if any) shall be provided by the District/college, the Department/Division shall consider appropriateness and availability. If bringing office equipment home and/or ordering equipment is approved, the employee must complete the District Property Loan Agreement. Please note Facilities is not able to assist employees bringing office equipment home, and ITS is only able to support remote installations. The employee is required to return any District property upon request after working remotely is completed.
  • The Department/Division will maintain all equipment owned by the District. The employee will not perform maintenance or repairs on District-owned equipment.
  • The employee is responsible for service costs, maintenance, and repairs of employee-owned equipment.
  • Only District-owned software may be installed on District-owned equipment. The employee may not install or download any other software to District-owned equipment without supervisor approval.
  • The employee shall never purchase or rent equipment, services or supplies on the assumption the Department/Division shall reimburse for the cost. Department/Division prior approval must be obtained prior to any expense incurred. In general, the employee is responsible for ongoing operating costs, such as telephone (mobile and landline) service fees, mobile phone data plans, internet fees, utility costs, and equipment rental fees, however for expenses incurred to be able to complete assignments may be reimbursable if prior approval is obtained and expenses can be verified.
  • The Colleges/District Office will supply the employee with appropriate office supplies to complete assignments. The employee should check in with their supervisor on how to request office supplies.

SMCCCD Social Distancing Protocols for Employees On Campus

To All SMCCCD Employees:

San Mateo County Health has ordered employers, including the San Mateo County Community College District, to distribute formal social distancing protocols to all employees. These protocols apply to any employee on District property, including the three college campuses and the District Office. This applies to all District employees currently required to work onsite, and will apply to all employees who return to work onsite in the coming months. Please read and keep a copy of these social distancing protocols.

There are five basic rules for social distancing at work:

  1. Do not enter District property if you have COVID-19 symptoms
  2. Maintain a minimum six-foot distance from other people
  3. Sneeze and cough into a cloth or tissue, or into your elbow
  4. Wear a face covering
  5. Do not shake hands or engage in unnecessary physical contact

These procedures are legally mandated by the San Mateo County Health Officer.

Currently, working-from-home remains in effect for most District employees due to the shelter-in-place order in San Mateo County. That order is in effect through May 2020 and may be extended. No decision has been made when to begin recovery back to normal business operations, but the SMCCCD Emergency Operations Center is developing protocols that will be used to restore operations in a safe and responsible way. Those protocols will be communicated with all employees before we begin to return to working onsite.

For all the latest information, visit the District COVID-19 information hub.

Working from Home Remains in Effect Through May 2020

Working from home will remain in effect for all employees except those who have been notified that they are essential workers who must be onsite. The District will continue to monitor local shelter-in-place restrictions to determine when to begin working again on District property.

Please note that any employees required to be on District property must wear face coverings while on any of our campuses or at the District Office.

Employees who have questions or concerns about working from home should consult with their supervisor.

March 27th Flex Day Clarification for Classified Staff

This is to provide clarification on questions that have come up from classified staff regarding the March 27 Flex Day that was identified in the academic calendar. For classified staff, March 27 should be considered a regular workday and a flexible day depending on what is needed to occur in your respective area.  

We do not have any official Flex Day activities scheduled for Friday, as we usually would for classified staff to engage with. However, individual offices and divisions have identified critical professional development and training opportunities for classified staff that are designed to help this transition to a remote work situation and an online student support services reality. This is essential and appropriate work to engage in. 

Classified staff should work with their supervisor to determine how best to use Friday, March 27 to continue to provide essential support for students and maintain essential business processes. We are in an unprecedented time and we will undoubtedly need to continue to adapt to this rapidly evolving situation.

We appreciate your understanding, your commitment to providing essential services to students, colleagues, and our communities. Please stay safe, stay healthy, and support each other.