MiraCosta’s transition back to in-person learning during the COVID-19 pandemic


The Stay Healthy campaign’s posters are posted around the Oceanside campus to remind MCC’s staff and students to follow safe practices while on campus during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Amy Eager, Multimedia Reporter

Oct. 21, 2021: An earlier version of this article stated that the Fall 2021 semester was the first to bring back on-campus courses. The article was updated to reflect the fact that MiraCosta College has always maintained some on-campus courses.

This semester MiraCosta College has increased its offerings of in-person courses for the first time since the pandemic began. MCC has established a vaccine mandate and proof of vaccination submission on the SURF platform for all students and faculty who wish to return to campus.

Alketa Wojcik, vice president of student services, who holds a master’s in postsecondary education and a doctorate in leadership in education, shares her knowledge about the transition. “We have 15 percent of the courses that we are offering face-to-face or hybrid model.”

“A little over 1600 students are actually on the campus for the classes,” Wojcik said, though there are many services and other reasons for students to be on campus. “For that, we have cleared over four thousand students.”

MCC is trying to prioritize student and faculty safety when transitioning back to on-campus classes. “The safety of our students, our faculty, and our community have been a priority so we were one of the first community colleges in San Diego County to mandate the vaccination,” Wojcik said.

There is a mandate for wearing a mask indoors. If a student needs a mask, the school offers them for free, in classrooms and various buildings throughout the school.

There is also a requirement for providing proof of vaccination to return to campus. As an incentive for the vaccination, this semester the college is providing a $300 bookstore voucher for students who have cleared their proof of vaccination on SURF. According to MCC’s bookstore website, the voucher expires for online usage on Nov. 1 and Nov. 4 for in-person use.

The Stay Healthy MiraCosta Campaign has been put together to encourage students and faculty to take safety measures to better take care of themselves as well as others.

Kim Marquardt, the director of MCC’s health services, elaborates on the Stay Healthy campaign at MCC. “There is signage and messaging all over campus encouraging students and staff alike to Soap Up, Mask Up, Get Vaccinated, Stay Hydrated, Physical Distance, and Respect Each Other, the six pillars of the campaign.”

“Those recommendations along with staying home when sick and avoiding touching your face will go a long way to keep individuals and the campus community at large as safe and healthy as possible,” Marquardt said.

Students and faculty can find more information on MCC’s COVID practices and updates on the website. The website also provides in-depth information on the vaccine such as where and why to get vaccinated as well as how students can submit documents or request an exemption.

Staff and students have their anxieties about returning to campus. “I am most nervous about successfully managing a health clinic post-pandemic, trying to balance keeping staff safe and healthy while also best serving the student population that may have some significant challenges both physically and emotionally,” Marquardt said.

While the transition can be stressful, students and faculty are excited to reconnect socially. “We can see first hand how we can support and help students and also see the excitement of students coming back to campus,” Wojcik said.

Marquardt anticipates a similar experience. “Definitely looking forward to working more hands-on with students as that has been somewhat limited for me as a remote administrator,” Marquardt said.

Many students are delighted to return to campus and engage with others face to face.

Kai Rivas, a student of MCC who has been cleared and returned to campus shares her thoughts on the transition.

“It makes me want to cry tears of joy, it makes me so happy that I’m back on campus,” Rivas said. “I can’t complain, it’s really nice.”

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