At a special board meeting held August 23, 2021, State Center Community College District Trustees voted to mandate vaccines for students, employees, contractors, and visitors beginning October 15, 2021. The District's COVID-19 protective measures are subject to legally required exemptions for sincerely held religious beliefs and medical conditions.
Originally scheduled for Friday, August 20 the meeting was rescheduled when more than 700 participants tried to join the Zoom meeting, leaving some unable to access the meeting due to capacity issues. The meeting was then rescheduled for Monday as a Zoom webinar with livestreaming on YouTube to allow for full access and participation. Chancellor Houston shared, "I am very proud of the governing Board for scheduling the meeting in a manner that ensures the broadest possible participation by the public, students, faculty, and staff for this very consequential decision."
The decision affects all District employees, students, contractors and members of the public visiting any campus of the District. This includes, but is not limited to, indoor and outdoor facilities at Fresno City College, Reedley College, Clovis Community College, Madera Community College, Madera Community College at Oakhurst and the Career & Technology Center.
The District has been operating under emergency conditions since March 13, 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Working with local, state and federal health authorities the District has issued various requirements to help slow the spread of COVID-19. Those requirements have included physical distancing, remote work, room occupancy limitations, and wearing face coverings.
In addition to requiring employers to provide a safe workplace for employees, California law requires the Board of Trustees to cooperate with local health officials in taking measures necessary to prevent and control the spread of communicable diseases among its student body.
"It is the responsibility of the Board to act based upon the recommendation of medical experts and sound science to protect the health and safety of our students, our employees, and the greater community, as part of our efforts to provide continued learning opportunities during this pandemic," said Board President Annalisa Perea.
The special board meeting was held to allow students, staff and the community to comment before the Trustees made its decision. Board President Perea added, "We appreciate everyone who took the time to have their voice heard on this very important topic and look forward to the implementation of it to further increase our efforts in keeping our community as safe as possible."
The decision comes as COVID-19 cases continue to surge locally and across the nation.