The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

Checking in on how City College is doing with the vaccine mandate

Graphic created by Randy Allen

As the second anniversary of the coronavirus disease approaches, the Los Rios Community College District still has one last hurdle: vaccinations.

As of Oct. 1, any student wishing to use on-campus facilities must show evidence of having received at least one COVID-19 vaccine shot, according to the district’s vaccine requirements webpage

The district is encouraging all students to get the vaccine. In September, the district offered $100 for all students who could show proof of at least one shot before Sept. 1 An additional $100 was offered to students who could show proof of their second shot (or full vaccination) by Nov. 1. 

Gabe Ross, associate vice chancellor of strategy and communications for Los Rios, says that an overwhelming majority of students currently enrolled in on-campus classes complied with the district’s mandate before the Oct. 1 deadline. The district has no evidence of any students on campus that are not in compliance with the mandate. Additionally, he says 99% of full-time and 86% of part-time employees are in compliance with the vaccine mandate. 

However, the district has no way of knowing the number of students that have decided to leave due to the mandate, he says. Enrollment is low at community colleges throughout the state because of the many factors that the pandemic has presented. 

Ross gives a glimpse of what next semester is going to look like for the district.

“We are happy to bring back more on-campus classes to our colleges for the spring semester, but also fully expect to have a robust array of online classes for students available,” Ross says. 

In an email sent out by Chancellor Brian King, he stated that students must be fully vaccinated or have an approved exemption on file before enrolling in any spring on-ground classes.  

The district continues to follow public health officials’ recommendations on masking and social distancing for all on-campus classes and activities, he says.

“Currently, masks are required in any indoor space in Sacramento County regardless of an individual’s vaccination status. Since there is no specific timeline for any changes to that direction, we are planning for that to be in effect for the spring semester as well,” Ross says. “Social distancing is not currently required in our county, however we are doing everything we can to maximize opportunities for distancing wherever possible.” 

Anthony Gutierrez, a student working at the circulation desk in the Learning Resource Center at City College, thinks that the mandate is important for the safety of the students and for continuing to reopen the campus.

“I think it’s important to have the vaccine mandate — to make sure everyone else is safe and secure at school so students can get books, tutoring and other services with less stress,” Gutierrez says. 

When students enter the LRC, they now need to check in with the circulation desk before they can go anywhere else. The process is simple: Gutierrez enters the student’s ID number, which will then display what classes the student is taking, as well as if they have updated their proof of vaccination in eServices. Gutierrez also assists with making sure students are following other protocols, such as making sure students are wearing masks properly and are following social distancing.  

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Sarah Adamovich, who works in the financial aid office in Rodda Hall North, fully supports the district enforcing a vaccine mandate. COVID safety has become a personal issue for her, she says. Adamovich has a 6-year-old daughter who has already had to take time off school due to a possible exposure, which also required Adamovich to take time off. 

“Honestly, I’ve had too many people pass away from it [COVID-19]. So it’s literally one of those things that is necessary for the safety of students and staff,” Adamovich says.

Adamovich says that most of the students and faculty she has encountered feel similarly that the mandate is necessary to ensure a safe reopening of the campus. 

While most of the people I’ve talked to on campus speak positively about the vaccine mandate, there are those who oppose the mandate as well. 

American River Current Editor-in-Chief Heather Amberson and Staff Writer Lorraine Barron covered a protest against the vaccine mandate that happened in October.

The organizer of the protest was Ryan Nix, a health service assistant at ARC who has been advocating for free choice when it comes to the vaccine. 

“Everybody should be given the option of health choice without coercion from an employer,” Nix said at the protest, according to the Current.

There was said to be about 40 to 50 people in attendance, staying for several hours with mixed messages from people passing by.   

Much of the reasoning from those opposed to the mandate is on the basis of medical and personal freedom. 

Amai Dawad is taking one class in person this semester, but she comes to the campus often. Dawadd says she is fine with the mandate and happy that she can come on campus without much risk to those she lives with. 

Dawadd received the $100 incentive for getting both vaccine doses before the Oct. 1 deadline and thinks that a cash incentive is a good way to encourage people to get the vaccine. 

Dawadd hasn’t heard much complaint about the mandate from those she has talked to on campus.  

“I think [the mandate] is a good thing, especially because recently they started checking if you’ve been vaccinated before coming into class,” Dawadd says. “It just really makes me feel safer.” 

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