Cabrillo College to open spring term online

APTOS — Citing a case surge by the omicron COVID-19 variant, Cabrillo College President Matthew Wetstein announced that the college will move most of its classes online until Feb. 22.

Wetstein made the announcement in an email to students and staff Friday morning.

Matthew Wetstein 

Cabrillo’s first day of the spring semester is scheduled to start Jan. 24. The college has been on winter recess since the fall semester ended on Dec. 11. Wetstein said in the email that that decision was finalized Thursday by the college’s Emergency Operating Committee.

But as many as 15% of Cabrillo classes in the spring semester will still meet face to face, according to Wetstein. The college is in the process of identifying the difficult to convert classes.

“Please know that the decision to go largely remote is a big decision that was discussed at length with faculty and staff leadership and is being made in order to reduce the spread of COVID-19 to our students and our employees,” the college president wrote in his email to students and staff.

Terrence Willett, Cabrillo’s dean of Research, Planning, and Institutional Effectiveness, identified that classes such as health occupations, studio arts, music and theater performance classes and welding would be in the “difficult to convert” classification. Willett said that he hopes the list of classes will be finalized by next week and posted for students.

“The Omicron variant and current spike in cases, positivity rates, and projected hospitalizations for Santa Cruz County were primary factors in the decision,” Willett told the Sentinel.

UC Santa Cruz announced this week that it pushed back to Jan. 31 the date for the scheduled start of in-person classes. UCSC’s original return date for the return to in-person classes was Jan. 15. UCSC’s winter quarter began Jan. 3.

When Cabrillo returns to in-person learning, the college will utilize its same health and safety precautions, according to Willett.

“We will continue our vaccine, masking and physical distancing mandates in addition to providing enhanced HVAC circulation and air filtration, personal protective equipment, hand sanitizer, on-site testing and contact tracing services,” Willett said.

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