SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - After COVID redirected thousands of students from Santa Barbara City College to remote locations, they are coming back to the campus with the start of a new school year.
Interim President Helen Benjamin is back for her second assignment as the college Board of Trustees seeks a permanent president.
Benjamin said, "we are excited about the beginning of a semester always at community colleges, we are open access institution."
About 12,000 students are enrolled for the fall semester. They are expecting the first wave of returning students on campus to be about 3-4000.
Benjamin said, "we are giving our students the option of coming to campus to have their classes in person in close proximity with their instructors, or continuing as they have for a long time now, on line. "
For a first year student coming from a local high school, using the Promise program with free books and tuition, this is a jump start into higher education.
Jasmin Chavez said, "I think it is awesome. It's a once in a lifetime opportunity for sure. I am really grateful to be part of it. "
One student taking both high school and college courses at the same time this semester, said this is helping her move into the college mind set.
"It means a lot it is awesome. I am excited to get CC and high school credits at the same time," said Gianna Macioce. "I really like, I am actually learning. " She was taking a break while en route to a math class.
The school is also prepared with special centers and counselors to help where there may be obstacles to learning.
Benjamin said, "we are set up to meeting their needs in a safe and healthy way. We would love for them to continue their education and not take a pause right now. "
After a year of remote teaching, the instructors are also getting back into their groove. "And they are ready for our students. I mean this is what they live to do," said Benjamin.
Joseph Belinfante, a second year student, said, during a break, "right now I am taking classes that are more geared towards my major. So they help you, they are building blocks. They train you."
He also wants to work closely with his classmates .
"I wish I had some more in person. I like meeting people. Meeting professors," said Belinfante.
It is a concept supported by the school. Benjamin said, "absolutely we know about cohorts and students learning together can help each other to learn and we have our learning resource center open"
Everyone going into campus buildings has to wear a mask, fill out a quick questionnaire, and get a wrist band at one of several stations set up around the campus.
With that the school says many opportunities are ahead. "I think the future is very bright for the people who work in community colleges and for the students as well."
The school has issued this advisory to staff and students in messaging and on its website:
Based on the passage of Board Resolution No. 1 - COVID-19 Immunization, “full” COVID-19 vaccination is required by October 1, 2021; all students, employees, and members of the public should have their second shot of Pfizer or Moderna - or their first shot of Johnson & Johnson - vaccine by Sept. 17th in order to qualify for full vaccination by October 1st. Immunization verification must be provided to SBCC as a condition of:
- Entering an SBCC campus building
- Attending an in-person SBCC class
- Using a service located off-campus
This applies to all students, employees, and members of the public unless they have obtained an approved exemption based on medical, disability, religious grounds or a deferral based on pregnancy.
For more information go to: Santa Barbara City College