By Debra Moore
The Feather River College school year is in its final weeks and plans are underway for this year’s commencement ceremony as well as what the campus will look like when students return in the fall.
As of now, graduation will be held Friday, May 21, at 1 p.m. with details still to be determined.
That’s just some of the information shared during the Feather River College Board of Trustees meeting held April 15.
Trustees also learned that the fall semester will bring a return to mostly in-person instruction, along with capacity housing in the dorms. “The fall schedule looks more like pre-pandemic,” said Dean of Instruction Derek Lerch. He said it wouldn’t be “back to normal,” but it would represent an improvement over this past year. “There will be a significant amount of face-to-face instruction,” he said.
While there will be in-person instruction offered, continued mitigation practices will be in place such as mask wearing and social distancing. Registration for the fall semester opened April 5.
FRC President Kevin Trutna said that the college will be working on making physical improvements to the campus such as installing touchless bathroom fixtures, making HVAC filtration upgrades, and increasing outdoor classroom and play space, with an eye to expand and improve the patio area near the cafeteria.
The college has purchased pop-up tents – one large and two smaller versions — to facilitate outdoor learning and events.
FRC has received funds from the federal government earmarked for facility purposes as well as for aid to be given directly to the students. Trutna explained that any expenditure must be tied to the pandemic.
Feather River College is working with Plumas County Public Health to provide vaccinations to FRC students. Student Services Director Carlie McCarthy said that students had been surveyed and roughly 50 percent of respondents were interested in receiving a vaccine.
However, during an interview April 16, President Trutna said that options were narrowing due to the second-dose timelines (with the Johnson & Johnson one-dose vaccine not an option at this time). Pfizer requires three weeks between doses, while Moderna requires four weeks, and the school year is rapidly drawing to a close.
There was a brief discussion during the meeting about requiring students to be vaccinated to attend school. Trutna said that it could be a requirement for extra-curricular activities, but not as a prerequisite to attend class.
During the follow-up interview, Trutna said the college is considering some options such as offering a discount on student housing for students who have been vaccinated.
Chico State announced April 15 that the university will require COVID-19 vaccinations for students who are living in university housing or participating in NCAA athletics, beginning in the fall 2021 semester.
“Our plan is to open our residence halls at about 80 percent of full capacity, with two students in most rooms, in the fall. When athletics returns, our student-athletes will spend significant time together in shared facilities,” said Mike Guzzi, CSU, Chico’s emergency operations center director. “It’s critical that these two segments of the student population are vaccinated so we can safely plan for a full, lively Chico State in fall 2021.”