February 5, 2021 Update

Friday, February 5, 2021

Dear Colleagues, 

Welcome back for the Spring 2021 semester — I hope that all of you had a chance to reset and unwind during the holiday break. Now that we are back, here are   some updates as we embark on the second half of the 2020-2021 academic year:

Black History Month

February is Black History Month, a nationally recognized celebration that focuses on the achievements and contributions of African descendants who have shaped U.S. history. As we commemorate the rich history and accomplishments of Black Americans over the coming weeks, this year's celebration also brings a heightened sense of responsibility and self-reflection. During the past several months, as the national discourse on topics of racial injustice and inequity has intensified, we, as a College, have a critical role in building a more just  society. Whether it's in the classroom, through student support services, or embedded within our processes, we are committed to advancing the College's values of fostering an equity minded and inclusive campus environment through our Equity and Inclusion Task Force.

Although most of us remain off-campus, there are many virtual events scheduled in honor of Black History Month, including guest lectures, art contests, and social media activities organized by our International Multicultural Committee, Umoja, EOPS program, Multicultural Center and Student Equity Office. I encourage you to participate in one or more of the scheduled events or activities, and to celebrate Black History Month.

COVID-19 Testing Update

As the college prepares for the possibility of athletic training and the start of a spring sports season, we implemented the athletic testing protocol in January outlined in the guidance by the California Department of Public Health for higher education institutions.  We test all athletes weekly, with the most recent testing resulting in 3 positive cases out of 340 students tested.  All students who test positive are required to self-isolate in accordance to CDC guidelines before resuming athletic conditioning (COVID-19 Dashboard).

I reiterate our commitment to health and safety as we continue to take steps to mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus, including requiring that all students and employees on campus exercise established safety protocols.

Spring Flex Day

The theme of our Spring 2021 Flex Day activities is Meeting Equity Challenges with Diverse Solutions and is scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 18. Flex Day will be held  in a remote format, with engaging workshops and fascinating presentations providing useful tools that support our OCC culture of care, equity and inclusion.   You can register for sessions via the Cornerstone Homepage, and if you have questions about attendance requirements, please contact your direct supervisor.

Let us welcome our students with optimism, excitement, and compassion as we support them on their journey to achieving their dreams.   I look forward to Zooming with you on Flex Day.

Angelica L. Suarez, Ph.D.