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LA Community Colleges To Start 2022 With No Omicron-Related Changes

Three students wait outside a campus building at the intersection of two streets. In front of them, a large sign reads "LATTC."
Los Angeles Trade Tech College is one of nine colleges in the Los Angeles Community College system.
(Adolfo Guzman-Lopez
LAist )
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The rapid spread of COVID-19’s most recent variant, omicron, has prompted several public and private universities to issue booster shot mandates and implement temporary returns to remote learning. Officials at some local community colleges, on the other hand, are still weighing their options.

For students in the Los Angeles Community College District, winter session is still set to begin on Jan. 4, with a mix of online, hybrid and in-person classes. To date, the district has made no changes to established schedules.

The district has about 230,000 students across nine campuses, including East Los Angeles College and Los Angeles Trade Tech. Students, faculty and staff are required to get COVID-19 vaccines to be on site. But the district is still seeking clarification from county and state health officials about whether that includes a booster.

William Boyer, a spokesperson for the district, said authorities are monitoring the situation and that there might be a change in the coming weeks. The next board meeting is scheduled for Jan. 12.

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The changes, Boyer added, might involve the type of masks to be worn, boosters and length of quarantine for infected individuals.

In the meantime, the district will offer an additional day of free testing per week for all students and employees.

Community Colleges Outside LA

Like other institutions, the community colleges have to navigate a rapidly changing situation, both in regards to what we understand about the danger posed by the omicron variant, as well as changing guidelines about handling exposure to COVID-19.

Elsewhere in Southern California, many community colleges are also assessing their options. At Pasadena City College, spring semester will begin on Jan. 10, but the first two weeks of class will be held online. Alex Boekelheide, who serves as special assistant to the superintendent/president, said the college "expect[s] to be face to face" by Jan. 24.

The campus, which has more than 29,200 students, has not issued booster shot requirements. However, it is keeping tabs on pronouncements from local health officials and the Centers for Disease Control.

Spring semester at Cerritos College in Norwalk will also start on Jan. 10. On Jan. 3, the college's district decided to move all courses with an in-person lecture component to an online-only format for the first two weeks. In an email, spokesperson Aya Aoki said the return-to-campus date is slated for Jan. 24.

The campus, which has nearly 18,000 students, does not currently require booster shots. To address the omicron surge, the district is offering free testing for students and employees, along with the Moderna vaccine and booster shots at its student health center. Class sizes have also been reduced and offered virtually.

“As the surge widens,” Aoki added, the district “will continue to adjust its protocols as needed.”

This article was originally published on Dec. 30, 2021.

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Updated January 4, 2022 at 1:05 PM PST
This article was updated to include news about Pasadena City College and Cerritos College.
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