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A message from President Kemper-Pelle

2/16/2021

Students,

As the COVID-19 restrictions persist, new strains emerge, and vaccines are slow to be distributed, I want to reach out to our students and thank you for your persistence. You have demonstrated amazing tenacity by staying enrolled and continuing progress toward your educational goals.

RCC is beginning to plan for summer and fall terms, and we intend to gradually reopen more on-campus options for classes and student services, assuming COVID-19 cases continue to decrease. There are some factors impacting our return to campus that I want to clarify because they are very different from K-12 education.

First is that K-12 educators are currently eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in Phase 1B Group 1. Higher education, including all public and private colleges and universities in Oregon, are not eligible for priority vaccinations as determined by the Oregon Health Authority Vaccination Advisory Committee. There is no priority vaccination protection offered to RCC employees beyond their eligibility based on age or pre-existing health conditions.

Second is that last summer the Higher Education Coordinating Commission and Oregon Health Authority established separate COVID-19 guidelines for higher education in the state. Our ability to offer on-site instruction and services follows completely different guidelines than K-12. Our guidelines can be found on our website and are driven by the rate of infection in Josephine and Jackson Counties, both currently listed as “extreme risk.”

We fully expect that as infection rates decline, RCC will begin to gradually reopen for on-campus instruction; however, we also expect to continue offering online and hybrid (online/on-campus) options. The speed at which this transition occurs is based on the speed at which vaccinations are available and COVID-19 cases decrease.

Our highest priority is to provide a safe and healthy environment for our students and employees. We are here to support you in your academic pursuits, and we will do this to the best of our ability while remaining compliant with our COVID-19 health and safety operational plan.

I fully recognize that these are difficult times. If you are struggling with feelings of stress, isolation, or depression, please use the resources that RCC provides to you at no cost. We are committed to helping you meet your basic needs while continuing your studies here at RCC.

Be safe.

Cathy Kemper-Pelle, Ed.D
RCC President