By: Malavika Raj
On October 7th, 2020, President Christopher Callahan announced to the Pacific community that the university has plans to reopen for the spring semester, if conditions with COVID-19 allow.
In an email addressing students and faculty across all three campuses, Callahan mentions that decisions about the reopening of each campus (Stockton, San Francisco, Sacramento) will be guided by public health experts in the local area.
Initially, the university had plans set in place for a cautious reopening for the fall semester of 2020. Those plans were thwarted by a spike of COVID-19 cases in early July, followed by months of heightened cases within the nation. “We believe we will be able to return in the new year safely, but please understand that we cannot guarantee that we will indeed return,” said Callahan in a statement to Pacific students. “As we have seen over the past eight months, COVID-19 is unpredictable.”
Additionally, if campus were to reopen in the spring. Callahan adds that it would not be “business as usual.” Classes and labs will resume in person, but not every student would be able to attend every day.
Additionally, students will have the option to continue online learning if they choose; however, some graduate and lab classes may require in-person attendance.
If Pacific does commit to reopening in January, Callahan notified that strict safety protocols will be set in place, and that “much of the Pacific health and safety plan” is already set in place for the students who are currently living on campus for the duration of the fall semester.
Highlights from the Pacific health and safety plan:
- COVID-19 Training Program for all students and faculty on campus
- Face coverings are required for all on campus
- Mandatory Social Distancing
- 3 face coverings will be provided to all students and staff on campus
- All frequently touched surfaces will be disinfected often (handles, doorknobs, etc)
- Mandatory daily screening for students and staff on campus (not to diagnose, but to identify possible signs)
Looking at San Joaquin County
As of September 29th, San Joaquin County has met the qualifications to move from Tier 1 to Tier 2 on California’s “Blueprint for Reopening Plan.” According to this plan, every county is assigned a tier based on two factors: positive test rate and adjusted rate case. To move up a category, counties must remain in a category for three consecutive weeks.
According to statistics from the San Joaquin County of Public Health Services (SJCPHS) currently, the county is in the Red Tier (Substantial Risk), where there are about 6.2 cases per 100,000 people, and less than 8 percent of tests being positive at 4.7 percent.
As of 10/18, San Joaquin County has had 21,187 cases. Stockton made up 9,700 of those cases. There have been 476 deaths throughout the county.
According to Dr. Maggie Park, the county’s Public Health Officer, signs are looking good for the county to move from the red tier to the orange tier in the upcoming weeks.
Currently, San Joaquin is currently in the orange tier for testing positivity (4.2%), but remains in the red tier for adjusted case rates (6.4%).