COVID-19 Sierra College Return to Campus

Planning a Safe Return to Our Campuses

In March 2020, we made the difficult decision, based on the guidelines of local and state public health officials, to limit access to our campuses due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. Our ultimate goal is to get our students and employees back to campus, while also protecting the health and safety of our college community.

Throughout this situation we have tried to keep our local and college community informed about the decision-making processes, current status and future phases of reopening. This plan will be revisited throughout spring and summer to best provide for Sierra’s students and employees.

COVID-19 Info/Visiting Campus Protocol Return to Campus Feedback Form

Current Status

All Sierra College campuses and locations are only open to students taking specific labs/specialty courses and essential personnel.

Sierra College remains operational via remote delivery for the majority of instruction and student services.

Protocols for Summer 2021 In-Person Classes

The protocols below are in place as of the first day of the summer semester, Monday, June 14. If federal, state or local guidance changes, they will be updated as needed. 

  • Students will complete the COVID-19 Health Screening Form on the Sierra College app before coming to campus. Students who receive a green health pass are permitted to come to campus. Students who receive a red pass must stay home and contact their instructor. Red passes will trigger a call from a Sierra College Contact Trace employee - please work with this person so they can clear you to return to class or determine next steps for you to become eligible to return as soon as possible. 

  • Students must wear a face covering while indoors at all times on campus. The face covering must cover the nose to the chin. A medical procedural mask will be issued to all students, and students are strongly recommended to wear the procedural mask while in class. If a student is not able to wear a mask, they should inform the instructor immediately, and they will be referred to a DSPS counselor to discuss options for accommodation. 

  • Before entering the classroom, students must show their health pass.

  • Students are to then scan the QR code on the building and/or for their classroom with the Sierra College app. 

  • Students will then proceed directly to the classroom where they will stay six feet apart from others at all times. 

  • Students may use the designated building restrooms only. 

  • No stopping or congregating will be allowed. 

  • Students not following the outlined Safety Procedures will be asked to leave class. 

Planning for Fall 2021

There has been extensive discussion to determine the safest way we could offer Fall 2021 classes. The Fall 2021 Scheduling Workgroup, consisting of administrators, union and senate representation and key staff, was tasked with exploring options and coming up with a recommendation.

The workgroup recommendation is to increase the number of on-ground classes offered in Fall 2021. Based on what we know and anticipate right now, we're planning for roughly 500 classes to have some on-ground component in Fall 2021.

There were many factors that informed this recommendation, including the need to have our schedule published as early as possible, current information available, and our commitment to students’ and employees’ health and safety and limited classroom space available to accommodate required safety protocols such as six feet of social distancing.

We want to build a schedule that meets students' needs and preserves options for different modes of instructional delivery, so we're exploring multiple class formats including hybrid and students remotely connecting to live class sessions. We’ve learned a lot from the small number of health and public safety classes that have met on-ground since the start of the pandemic, which has informed our planning. Deans are now consulting with department faculty to determine faculty interests and prioritize classes to return to in-person instruction and the schedule is planned to go live on the website on Monday, April 12.

Being that this is an ever-evolving situation, flexibility remains key to our planning efforts going forward. As conditions and external requirements change, we will work to add in-person classes as needed to meet student enrollment patterns.

Reopening Frequently Asked Questions

The situation related to health, safety and reopening criteria is dynamic, and we will continue updating the information on this page. 

Yes, we will offer classes both online and on-ground in Fall 2021. The on-ground classes in Fall 2021 will primarily be in the public health and safety sectors, lab classes, and other classes that are difficult to deliver fully online. The online schedule for Fall 2021 will be available mid-April. However, the situation remains fluid, and we will adjust the schedule as needed to respond to changing conditions and local or state regulations.

The safe reopening is being coordinated by the Return to Campus workgroup, the Executive Council, and faculty and staff representatives.

Employees, faculty, students and visitors who plan to visit any of our Sierra College campuses must follow the visiting campus protocols found on our COVID-19 page.
Masks are required. Sierra College is following guidance from the California Department of Public Health that currently recommends use of a mask and social distancing.
Most classes in the fall will still have a fully online option. Some classes requiring significant hands-on learning that is difficult to achieve online will be offered only on-ground or as hybrids. Please make a counseling appointment if you have questions about your fall schedule.
Classes requiring significant hands-on or in-person learning that is difficult to achieve online will have the first priority to return on-ground. Other classes will be added as possible.

Listening Session FAQs

The development of plans for how to return more fully to campus for fall 2021 are continuing and an important part of the planning is ensuring any concerns from our Sierra community are addressed.

This semester we held four listening sessions across Sierra. The purpose was to address reopening questions and concerns. As we receive additional feedback, ideas, questions and guidance we will continue to add to our FAQs.

As a follow up, the Return to Campus Committee wanted to share their responses to the following questions:

The best way to protect yourself and others is to get vaccinated. We strongly encourage everyone who can do so safely to get vaccinated as soon as possible. Information on vaccine appointments can be found at the links below:

Employees in Placer County should visit and/or text PLACERVACCINE to the number 898211 to be notified when new appointments become available.

Employees in Nevada County should visit and/or Text VACCINEINFO to 898211 to receive text updates from Public Health straight to your smartphone

At this point Sierra College is strongly encouraging all employees and students who can do so safely to get vaccinated as soon as possible. We are also continuing to monitor state guidance closely on this issue to determine if there may be a change in the requirements as well as shifting safety requirements that may require us to at least obtain the vaccination status of each employee and student as there currently seems to be a shift in legal safety requirements which differs significantly for those who are vaccinated as compared with those who are unvaccinated.
Each supervisor will need to work with employees in their area to asses who will need IIT support upon return and then coordinate with IIT who will help to prioritize set up times for those who need to return the soonest to support students and other departments on campus.
Yes, so long as they are able to follow whatever safety protocols (face coverings/social distancing) are in place and required at the time of the return. Additional outdoor seating/meeting spaces are also being discussed/considered as well to further assist with allowing groups to get together.
Yes. Supervisors will want to work with employees to determine where any needs for plexiglass may be and start ordering soon. It should be noted, however, that the Center for Disease Control (CDC) has changed some of the guidance on using Plexiglas to ensure that part of the evaluation of using the barriers includes not reducing overall air flow to an office or work space.
With things changing rapidly and our efforts focused on returning our operations safely and successfully to campus, we will evaluate long term decisions such as ongoing telework options after we have fully returned. We will continue to work with our collective bargaining and representative group partners on how we can best evaluate and consider long term options in the future.
Employees can always access our Employee Assistance Program (EAP) 24/7 by calling (800) 999-7222 or visiting and entering "SISC." They can also share their concerns with their supervisor and/or Human Resources if they feel comfortable doing so.
There is not yet a specific date published to students, but we anticipate finalizing a date as planning continues and sharing that date with students as well as employees.
Cleaning protocols will be based upon the guidance of the CDC and California Department of Public Health (CDPH) for higher education settings.
To the extent mask and social distancing requirements remain in place in fall 2021, as employees each of us will have some responsibility to remind students and visitors of our protocols. Certainly, information will be sent out to students in advance as well as numerous signs will be placed around campus. Again, depending on the requirements at the time of return, we will have plans in place to help address any individuals who are not complying and designate individuals who can help to deescalate any issues that may arise.
Food options will be available on campus for employees and students during fall 2021. Business services is currently working with Pacific Dining on the specific plan for food services for fall 2021.
As we have done throughout the pandemic we will evaluate those facilities use requests on a case by case basis to ensure that safety protocols in place at the time are able to be complied with for the requested event.
This again will depend on the safety guidance in place at the time of return, but in general it is probably best to limit any food sharing for now that involves people touching the same utensils or food items. Until the masking and social distancing guidelines change it might be best for individuals to eat outside or in an area where they can spread apart by more than 6 feet.
An updated parking sticker will not be required for fall 2021 and individuals will not be ticketed for not having an updated parking sticker.
Employees seeking a reasonable accommodation and to engage in the interactive process under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) may notify their supervisor and/or contact Human Resources Directly at or by calling the Human Resources office at (916) 660-7100.
We currently anticipate K-12 schools fully reopening in fall 2021 if they have not already done so. However, employees with questions about the impacts of school closures, quarantines, etc., may notify their supervisor and/or contact Human Resources Directly at or by calling the Human Resources office at (916) 660-7100.
Plans for these smaller office spaces will be part of the ongoing planning and the guidance related to these areas is shifting quickly so we will monitor those changes closely.
We do not know at this point as the guidance is changing quickly. We have been planning for contact tracing and use of the Sierra Health Screening App to continue as we return, but this could change based on the shifting guidance.
Air flow for each building has been adjusted to ensure maximum air flow based on the building and HVAC equipment for that facility. Options to update HVAC systems where appropriate will continue to be evaluated.
Yes. We still want to hear from you as we continue to plan for our return and as guidance continues to change. No one knows your jobs and work areas better than you do. We will evaluate if additional large group listening sessions would be helpful and the best and most efficient way to provide continued feedback, ideas and questions is through the Return to Campus Feedback Form.
No, we will not be switching modalities for scheduled courses, but it is possible if enrollment is low in online courses that there may be cancelations in online sections and on-ground sections added in their place.
As was the case before, Security will be available to help employees and students who request assistance walking to cars or between locations on campus during evening classes. Also, as social distancing guidance shifts, more room locations may be available where classes will be less isolated.
Classes that have curriculum approval for fully online delivery only under emergency circumstances can be offered online in the fall, but we anticipate that emergency conditions will have ended by spring 2022.
This will be determined department by department with the Deans conferring with faculty. We have previously been constrained by the number of faculty that have been trained to teach online in the past, but that has changed in the last year. Going forward, the hope is to offer students numerous options in modalities (on-ground, online, hybrid).
Please contact your Dean regarding your classroom needs so that we can obtain any needed items in time. Faculty once assigned a room may wish to visit the space to help determine any classroom needs.
Faculty with any particular requests should contact their Deans to help determine what requests can be accommodated.
Each lab has been assigned a COVID class cap maximum based on room capacity. This may shift as social distancing guidelines are adjusted.
Students can be added up to the COVID class cap. Please do not add students over that cap.
Facilities has done a very careful review of every room being used for the fall semester & we must adhere to the maximum class cap. There should be no class scheduled in a room that does not allow for social distancing. However, if there is a room size error, please let your Dean know. This may also shift as social distancing guidelines are adjusted.
From the outset of the pandemic the safety of our employees and students has been our top priory. We will, of course, continue to monitor COVID case numbers and Federal, State and local guidance as we move forward and we will make adjustments as needed.
Yes. We will provide wipes, hand sanitizer and PPE based on guidance at the time of return for each work location and class. Please contact your supervisor if you identify a need for additional PPE in your work area.
Not yet. This is a good idea to help acclimate those who have been out of the workspace for over a year, however, with the guidance currently shifting we will likely want to get a better sense of what guidance and protocols will be in place before finalizing such a video.
This is another area where the guidance is shifting quickly. We will continue to monitor and update everyone and adjust planning accordingly based upon the guidance. Ensuring the safety of employees and students is our top priority.

Return to Campus Workgroup

The Return to Campus Committee is the main committee responsible for logistical planning and details of the safe return to campus, and includes representatives from:  

  • Health services 
  • Professional and Organizational Development 
  • Facilities and Construction 
  • Residence Life 
  • Instruction 
  • Career & Technical Education 
  • Athletics