Skip to Content

Planning a Safe Return

Planning for a healthy and safe return to our campuses.


Since March 2020, the global COVID-19 pandemic has led to an unprecedented and rapid transition of all classes and services to the online environment. Though there are still many questions about how long we will operate predominantly online, we must plan for our eventual return to campus now.

The fall 2021 semester will have significantly more in-person offerings and most student support services will return (at least partially) to serving students in person. Expanded in-person service is predicated on continued positive trends in public health conditions and the reduction and elimination of state and local COVID-19 mitigation measures.

The Los Rios colleges are also planning for a full return to campuses for the spring 2022 semester, which begins in January, as public health conditions continue to improve.

Self-Check for Symptoms

As employees and students return to campus, we ask that everyone to do their part to keep our colleges healthy and safe. Before coming to campus each day, please do a self-check for any of the following symptoms:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

If you are sick or are experiencing any of the above symptoms, then please stay home. The above list does not include all possible symptoms. To learn more about symptoms, visit the Center for Disease Control.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will the Los Rios colleges offer classes online or in person in fall 2021?

The fall 2021 schedule will include a mixture of both online and in-person classes (more in-person classes than we offered in spring 2021, but substantially fewer than usual). The principal factor in our ability to offer more in-person classes is whether or not social distancing requirements are in place in our region when classes begin this Fall. If so, bringing more classes back on-campus would dramatically reduce access to our colleges for thousands of students in our region. If and when social distancing requirements are eased, opportunities to bring more classes and services back in-person are significantly greater.

In-person offerings will include:

  • Allied Health Programs – Classes in Allied Health programs that were in-person in fall 2020/spring 2021 will again be scheduled to be in person.
  • "Impossible-to-Convert/Complete" Programs – A total of 27 programs that we have been entirely or mostly unable to offer at all in the past year. These programs will proceed in person regardless of the status of social distancing requirements, with significant safety planning to ensure that students, faculty, and staff are safe.
  • "Difficult-to-Convert" Programs/Courses – Classes in "Difficult-to-Convert" areas such as hard science labs, ESL, the arts, and affinity cohort programs like Umoja, Puente, and TRIO. If social distancing is required in the weeks leading up to the start of the fall term, then these courses will all be reverted to online classes.
  • Additional in-person Math and English Classes – A substantial number of new math/statistics/quantitative reasoning and English (ENGWR only) courses (these are additional classes above what is already planned for the schedule) in support of our districtwide focus on equity and completion. These classes will proceed in-person regardless of the status of social distancing requirements, again with significant safety planning.

Is Los Rios reopening its campuses for summer 2021?

The summer 2021 semester will again be predominantly online with only limited exceptions for some impossible-to-convert programs and very limited on campus activities ("impossible-to-convert" programs include only programs that have not been offered online at all since the onset of the pandemic).

This includes programs training first responders and students in other allied health fields critical to our regional COVID-19 response efforts, as well as the potential for some impossible-to-convert career education programs that have been in hibernation since the onset of the pandemic. Of course, any possibility of offering in-person classes is contingent on public health conditions and having thorough safety plans in place.

If Los Rios can’t offer everything on campus in fall 2021, then how will it decide which classes or services to prioritize?

As we look at expanding in-person offerings, the first priority is to resume impossible to convert classes and programs (such as classes and programs that have been in complete hibernation since the move to remote operations) and students who may have been able to complete some classes, but have not been able to complete all the necessary coursework to make progress towards completing their program. Getting these students back engaged and moving towards their degree or certificate is the top priority.

The next priority is programs and classes that have been particularly difficult to convert to online, classes where critical aspects of the curriculum have had to be altered or skipped, and specific math and English classes critical to students' academic success.

When will we be back to "normal?"

With so many questions still surrounding the fall 2021 semester, we understand the challenges in planning for the spring 2022 semester and beyond. That said, we also know that so many of our students, faculty, and staff are anxious and eager to return fully to campus in a safe and healthy way.

We are currently planning for a full return to campuses in spring 2022, with the recognition that our "new normal" may look different than what we have all been used to. All decision-making will continue to be driven by the most current public health information as well as existing policies, CBAs, and MOUs with our labor partners. Much will change between now and the time that decisions for spring 2022 will need to be finalized, and we will continue to work closely with stakeholder groups on all of those discussions and keep everyone informed along the way.

Will student services be back on campus?

We expect to bring back at least a portion of most student services back on campus in fall 2021, should public health conditions allow. Implementation of these critical services for students will vary college-by-college based on student demand and unique staffing dynamics. 

As always, all discussions about which programs and services to resume on campus are being made through the lens of existing policies, CBAs, and MOUs with our labor partners and based on feedback from students and stakeholder groups.

Will masks be required on Los Rios campuses during fall 2021?

Though we are tracking CDC recommendations regarding mask-wearing very closely, our campus mask policies are driven primarily by state and county public health orders. The Sacramento County Public Health Department's guidance for schools has aligned its mask standards to updated California Department of Public Health guidance for the use of face coverings , which currently states that face coverings are still required in indoor settings regardless of someone's vaccination status with very limited exceptions. Guidance regarding wearing masks outdoors is dependent on individuals' vaccination status:

  • For fully vaccinated persons, face coverings are not required outdoors except when attending crowded outdoor events, such as live performances, parades, fairs, festivals, sports events, or other similar settings.
  • For unvaccinated persons, face coverings are required outdoors any time physical distancing cannot be maintained , including when attending crowded outdoor events, such as live performances, parades, fairs, festivals, sports events, or other similar settings.
As county and state public health experts update their guidance regarding the use of masks in our region, we will continue to update Los Rios policies in accordance with the latest available information.

Will vaccinations be required for faculty, staff, or students to return to campus in fall 2021?

With the University of California and California State University systems recently announcing vaccination requirements for all students, faculty, and staff for fall 2021, we know there are many questions about whether or not we will institute a similar policy in Los Rios. At this time, we do not anticipate that vaccines will be required for Los Rios students or employees for fall 2021.

Unlike California's four-year university systems, our colleges serve all students who come to us and we cannot simply replace unvaccinated students with vaccinated ones from a long waiting list. That said, we strongly encourage every Los Rios student and employee to get vaccinated as soon as possible.

Can students use a campus computer to apply for and enroll in classes?

Campus computer labs are not yet open for student use. Call (916) 286-3777 for application and enrollment help.

Are students required to come to campus to complete forms or processes when on-campus operations resume?

No, during the COVID closure, nearly all of our documents and processes were moved online. Following the COVID closure, we will maintain these services and processes online for your convenience.

Will there be in-person events and workshops?

The majority of events and workshops will continue to be offered virtually, until the appropriate health and district officials determine that it is safe to gather. Continue to monitor the our website and your email for updates.

Will students be able to print on campus?

Printing on campus will be very limited, if available at all.

Can students come to campus for tutoring?

Most tutoring will continue to occur virtually. Some academic support programs may offer limited in-person tutoring by request only. See specific program pages for instructions.

Is the library open for studying, to check out books, or to meet with a librarian?

Librarians are available for online appointments with students. Visit the library website to chat or make an appointment. Students can request books and pick them up via a safe and socially-distanced method. The library is not physically open for studying.

What is the process to "ready" a building? What types of inspection, testing, and replacement of equipment will occur – daily, weekly, and monthly – before the start of fall 2021?

COVID mitigation measures to prepare our facilities primarily involve building ventilation and air filtration systems, but Facilities Management (FM) would also do a full HVAC system functions test and inspection for each building prior to occupancy (as outlined in Making Our Buildings Resilient During COVID-19).

Before the pandemic, we already regularly performed these system checks throughout the year, typically coinciding with filter replacements (every four months). Now, we will perform additional checks before reopening facilities. These checks help ensure systems are performing the necessary CDC/ASHRAE recommended air exchanges and sufficient outside fresh air is being pulled into the buildings.

Before reopening a facility, we will also verify that we can remotely communicate with the building's HVAC controls through the District's Energy Management System (EMS). Read Making Our Buildings Resilient During COVID-19 to learn more.

When will all buildings have air filtration equivalent to N95 masks?

All buildings that are currently occupied have MERV-13 filters, the industry standard for COVID-19 mitigation. MERV-13 filters are recommended because they can trap smaller particles, including viruses, and are equivalent to N95 masks with regards to protection and air quality.

In the event a building's HVAC system cannot accommodate the MERV-13 filters, we are performing additional building "flushing" two hours prior and two hours after occupancy as recommended by CDC/ASHRAE for these situations. As more buildings open to accommodate more people coming on to campus, we will perform HVAC system checks and filter changes prior to occupancy.

Buildings are being prioritized in the order they will be occupied with the goal of all buildings being ready (with system checks and filter replacements complete) no later than July 31, 2021, so we are prepared for whatever on-campus activities take place in the fall. Read Making Our Buildings Resilient During COVID-19 to learn more.

March 1 Reopening Planning Report

Based on engagement with key stakeholders – including the board of trustees and labor and senate partners as appropriate – the Los Rios Reopening Planning Team submitted a refined report titled, A Framework for Reopening In-Person Instruction, Student Services, and Administrative Services. The report outlines a detailed and specific framework and plan for reopening to the chancellor and college presidents.

The Los Rios Reopening Planning Team also released an initial Reopening Planning Report in January 2021 after gathering feedback at Flex Week Reopening Plan Listening Sessions, through this website, and in other campus- and district-wide discussions.

As public health information evolves and vaccination rates increase, our planning parameters can and will change.

Input and Feedback Form