Pasadena City College students and faculty returned to campus for in-person learning Monday on a day dominated by COVID-testing and dissension by some teachers and students who believed the reopening to be unsafe and too early in light of the recent COVID surge.
On campus, administration official Alexander Boekelheide was upbeat about the first day.
“We’re excited to have everyone back here on campus. It’s been a long time for some of these students. Some students haven’t been here since March 2020,” Boekelheide said as he stood near the mirror pools. “We’re just glad that people are back here and we’re starting to have some folks come to class in person.”
Roughly 58 percent of PCC’s courses are offered face-to-face; the remainder are hybrid or online-only classes.
PCC requires full vaccination against COVID-19, with limited exceptions, among all students, faculty, and staff that come in person to the campus. Testing protocols require students present a test within 72 hours of returning to campus and get a new test every week.
On Monday, long lines of hundreds of students slowly inched through three testing locations throughout the day. The crush prompted PCC to reinforce the testing vendor’s personnel with members of the college’s nursing staff, according to PCC’s director of student health services Mindy Throop.
Some faculty members described the testing as flawed and mismanaged.
The PCC Faculty Association said the majority of its members wanted to push back the school’s reopening.
On Sunday the Faculty Association announced it will be filing an Unfair Labor Practice charge against the District, claiming the college refused to negotiate over continuing remote instruction. in view of safety issues affecting faculty and students alike.
The Association urged teachers who felt the campus was an unsafe working environment to continue teaching virtually. On Monday, concerned that teachers refusing to return to campus might be disciplined, the Association issued reminded its members of their right to Union representation.
It is not yet known if any teachers refused to return to campus for in-person teaching Monday.