Our contract with Brightstar Healthcare expires on June 30, 2022, and is not being renewed. In the fall 2021 semester, the Peralta Community College District initiated checkpoints on each campus in order to verify that students and employees were following our Vaccination Policy regarding access to campus. Originally these checkpoints were staffed by Marina Security, and later Brightstar Healthcare was contracted as this screening process was more of a health matter than a security issue. The Brightstar team has served Peralta well for the last two semesters and we are grateful for their service to students, employees, and guests. HEERF funds used to pay for the screening service are ending. As the COVID pandemic moves toward endemic status, we need to reevaluate our practices.
We reached out to our peers at other Bay Area community college districts. We found that other “Bay Ten” colleges have moved away from the individual screening model and have proceeded with a community honor code. Similar to other Bay Area community colleges, PCCD colleges will no longer staff and conduct daily health screenings for entry to the campuses.
Beginning on July 1, 2022, and effectively on July 5, 2022 (since July 1 is a Friday and offices are closed due to the 4x10 schedule; and Monday, July 4 is the Independence Day holiday), students and employees will be allowed onto campus with the understanding that all must still abide by our Vaccination Policy, but we will no longer have checkpoints to verify adherence to the policy. This change brings the Peralta Colleges in line with other Bay Area community colleges.
The Vaccination Policy remains in place. Employees are to be fully vaccinated or have an approved exemption accompanied by submitting weekly negative COVID test results to access campus. Students are to be fully vaccinated or have the exemption with weekly negative test results in order to access campus facilities.
Students and guests should continue to take the daily COVID screening survey via Campus Shield and should be prepared to show their “green screen” to any employee upon request.
Employees should continue to take the daily COVID screening survey via the Employee Health Tracker in PeopleSoft and should be prepared to show their “CLEARED” status to appropriate administrative personnel upon request.
Our goal has always been to keep our community as safe as possible during the pandemic, and that goal remains in place. Masks remain required indoors to help limit the potential spread of COVID (and other airborne viruses). Improvements have been made to our HVAC air filtration systems. Hand sanitizers are placed throughout campus and we continue to urge all to do frequent handwashing. These safeguards have been successful, we have had a less than 1% infection rate, and those who have been infected have indicated it was from outside the district.
Also on July 1, 2022, we will discontinue the weekly testing service provided on campus via Virtual Healthcare Services (VHS). In March 2022, VHS notified PCCD that they could no longer provide the free weekly testing service available on each campus because the federal government had ended their testing reimbursement program. “Free” testing remained for employees who provided their health insurance information. VHS data indicates that we have seen significant declines in participation, and it is cost-prohibitive for them to continue with this service on campus.
Alameda County provides a wide range of free testing services so individuals who need weekly testing can use Alameda County resources which are listed here: https://covid-19.acgov.org/testing.page#testing-calendar.
For students, Roots Clinic offers free COVID-19 testing at 9925 International Blvd, Oakland, CA 94603 (pre-register here). For more information about student health services, visit https://www.peralta.edu/health-services/.
Please continue to use the Safe Peralta website at https://safe.peralta.edu which will soon be updated to reflect these changes. The site will also soon add answers to any frequent questions that may arise. Again, I want to thank both Brightstar and VHS for the services they provided to our community.
These changes are in response to the ever-evolving landscape in which we find ourselves. I want to thank each of you – classified professionals, faculty, and administrators – for all you do to support students and one another during these challenging times. It is our collective work in the spirit of Ubuntu that gives me confidence that we will continue to be safe and strong for our community.
JANNETT N JACKSON, PhD