Open Forum: Vaccine Mandate Date Extension, Exemptions and Noncompliance


Image from Fresno City College’s email to students about open forum on Oct. 1.

Fresno City College President Carole Goldsmith, administration and staff discussed the State Center Community College District vaccination mandate, exemptions and more during an open forum via Zoom on Oct. 1 2021.

Goldsmith began the forum by reminding students that faculty and staff are working to provide the services they need to be successful. 

“We’re almost to the halfway point of this semester so we want to encourage you to stay strong. Stay healthy. Don’t drop out. Seek out tutoring and other services, and remember Ram strong. Take care everybody,” she said. 

Extension of Vaccine Mandate Effective Date 

According to Lataria Hall, vice president of student services, the SCCCD Board of Trustees extended the mandate from Oct. 15 to Nov. 15 for students. 

She added that they understood the original Oct. 15 deadline was too soon and wanted to give students more time to get vaccinated or seek exemption.

Employees are still required to submit their COVID-19 vaccination status to the district no later than Oct. 8, 2021

More information on how to report vaccination status can be found here

“The goal of the mandate is to make sure we are providing a safe and healthy learning environment for all students, faculty and staff,” she said. 

In addition to the mandate extension, Hall said FCC’s $250 bookstore vouchers are valid until Nov. 10.

Information on Medical Exemptions

FCC Health Coordinator, Lilli Goishi-Bessey, said the students seeking a medical exemption from vaccination mandate will need to complete and submit a medical exemption form. 

Instructions on how to obtain, complete and submit the form can be found here

According to Goishi-Bessey, the student’s medical provider must specify if it is a temporary or long term exemption and include a release date if the exemption is temporary.

Goishi-Bessey added that once staff receives an exemption form, students will be notified by phone or email if exemption was approved or not. The process will take three to four days. 

Information on Religious Exemptions 

According to Sean Henderson, dean of student services, medical and religious forms must be completed no later than Nov. 10, 2021. 

Students with sincerely held religious beliefs, practices, or observances, which are contrary to the practice of vaccinations, may now petition for an exemption.

Students can find the COVID-19 Vaccination Religious Exemption Form in their student portal that pertains to their primary campus:

Fresno City College

Reedley College

Clovis Community College

Madera Community College

For Those Who Do Not Comply With Mandate 

According to Henderson, employees, visitors or contractors who are not fully vaccinated by Oct. 15 will not be allowed to enter any SCCCD building. 

He added that FCC will have monitors in front of all buildings, who will verify vaccination status or exemption status before entering into buildings. Henderson did not say when this will begin at FCC. 

He reminds students and staff that these are temporary measures, which will be in place as long as COVID-19 is an issue or until COVID-19 cases go down. 

After Nov. 15, non-vaccinated students without exemptions will only be allowed to participate in online courses, according to Henderson. 

He believes students will not be dropped from their courses if they do not comply. However, they will have to work with their professors to continue their course online. 

“We have professionals within the entire district who are committed to supporting our students at every step. We do not want this to be a punitive mandate. We do not want it to be a cause for discipline,” he said. “We want to help you in any way that we can. This mandate was enacted after the semester began. It’s kind of chaotic at the moment but we will get you through this.”

The mandate also states that students and staff with exemptions will be required to get tested twice a week. 

Henderson said the district is currently in negotiations with a vendor to support FCC in testing those with exemptions. 

According to Hall, FCC is planning to have 70% of courses in-person and 30% online for the spring 2022 semester.