Student letter campaign for safe SMCCCD campuses NOW

To students—a message from your faculty:

With the semester beginning, you’re on our minds, first and foremost. We've heard from some students that they are excited to get back to learning in person. So are we! We’ve also heard from others who are nervous about the surge, others who are sick or whose family members are sick, and still others who are unsure about the district’s safety rules and procedures.

As you’re probably aware, the number of Covid cases in San Mateo County is the highest it’s ever been, and the San Mateo County Covid case rate is currently higher than the national average. On top of that, our college district has not implemented adequate safety protections despite repeated and urgent requests by your teachers, counselors, and you, the students, to do what nearby colleges are doing to ensure the health and safety of all.

One big question the District has failed to address is: What do STUDENTS need to feel safe on campus to resume in-person learning? Your teachers’ union, AFT1493, has made the following demands, among others:

1. Covid testing must be available at each campus for any employee or student who wants it, on demand, and as often as they want it. Presently, testing is guaranteed only for unvaccinated employees and students.

2. The District must provide N95 or KN95 masks for all students on demand in easily accessible locations on campuses. The District should also share information with students that N95 and comparable masks offer the best protection from Covid-19 for themselves and others rather than fabric or surgical masks.

3. The District must make portable air purifiers available on demand to faculty and staff who request them.

4. All faculty and staff must have the option to teach and work remotely until San Mateo County moves out of the high transmission tier, if they determine classroom or workplace safety is inadequate and if they receive information from students on their health status and lack of comfort with current in-person learning conditions.

The District's administration, led by Chancellor Mike Claire and the members of the Board of Trustees, can make these demands a reality.

We are inviting students to write a letter to Chancellor Claire and the SMCCCD Trustees saying you stand in solidarity with your teachers, counselors, librarians, nurses, and staff so we can keep learning together, in a safe condition. We've set up a system with letter text you can use—feel free to edit it or not—so the whole process takes 30 seconds. Just fill in your name, email, and zip code at right, then click Start Writing to see a pre-written letter you can either edit or send as is. THANK YOU for advocating for the safety of everyone in our community. We appreciate your support.