On Mar. 18, the PCC Board of Trustees (BOT) voted to bestow emergency authorities to Superintendent/President Erika Endrijonas due to the COVID-19 global pandemic.
According to Mary Thompson, Enrijonas’s executive assistant, this is the first emergency board resolution in the history of the college, which goes back to 1933.
The BOT only meets once a month, and the CDC and county officials have been issuing updates of cases and guidelines at least once a week so far.
“I don’t need to wait for the board to meet and give approval to be doing things,” Endrijonas said. “If I need to close the campus, if I need to make an emergency purchase, those kinds of things. They granted me the authority that doesn’t require me to have them meet first and decide before something can happen.”
The BOT followed the lead of California Community Colleges Board which approved emergency authority for the State Chancellor.
“What the boards are recognizing is that there are day to day operational decisions that require presidents to be able to make decisions,” Endrijonas said. “Every time I turn around a new piece of information comes along. Not having to worry about ‘Oh my gosh, what does the board want or think about this?’ is huge for me. By giving me these emergency powers they have basically said ‘we trust you’.”
In the near future, Endrijonas will be using this authority to decide what is to become of the rest of the semester —if it will continue to be fully online or if a tentative date for re-opening campus will be set*—the fate of graduation ceremonies and what to do for summer classes.
“The question we’re grappling with is how do we do a fully online summer or if we are able to open up the campus, do we do online and plan face to face lab and career technical classes.”
For spring, Enrijonas and her associates will be deciding if there is any reason to extend the semester so there could be face to face instruction if PCC was cleared to open. Even if this were to happen, the semester would have to end on June 30 at the latest to stay in this fiscal year.
Of course, that is all a big what-if scenario given the precarious state of the COVID-19 spread and containment.
“I also don’t want to be premature in how long this could last,” Endrijonas said. “I don’t want to be announcing a new date to open every week. Everyday we get new information from the city and the county.”
To see the Courier’s latest updates for COVID-19, click here
*As of writing this, PCC has now confirmed it will continue remote instruction until the end of the spring semester.
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