As is true for every aspect of our lives, this has been an unusual spring break. Instead of excited stories of travel and family gatherings, I have heard tales of cancelled plans, delayed travel, and requests to work instead of taking planned vacation days. While the California and San Luis Obispo County efforts to shelter in place are incredibly important in the fight to flatten the curve, they are taking a toll on everyone. Those working on campus, in grocery stores, driving delivery, providing healthcare, and ensuring other essential services and those working from home. Chancellor Oakley shared the following graphic and website of stress relief resources.

Stressbusters

Many insurance companies, including my own home and auto company, have built similar resource pages that include tips on everything from nutrition, to mindfulness, sleep, and mental health support. The sites I have visited all emphasize the importance of supportive relationships and maintaining connections with friends, family, and co-workers. With so much of my workday now on Zoom, I am avoiding that after work and instead enjoying phone calls and texts with friends. Ahh, there is joy and relief in letting my hair be messy!

New Laptops

In an effort to increase data security, new laptops with expanded security features have arrived and are being prepared for distribution beginning as early as next week. Employees working with personal identification information (PII) from home will be notified when their new laptop is ready for no contact pick-up. We understand that you may be very comfortable with your old faithful equipment, but the new hardware will increase protection of everyone’s data. Upgraded technology tools are an important element of maintaining the integrity and security of our student and employee data. We appreciate your understanding when the time comes to transition. Stay vigilant in protecting PII; phishing, hacking, and other nefarious activity has increased during isolation.

Virtual Egg Hunt

You may have read in the Tribune about the virtual egg hunt that launched in North County and now reaches overseas. GIS Instructor Feride Schroeder shared that Cuesta student Lorraine Halderman created the web applications using ArcGIS Online to help track the location of the eggs. Lorraine used the skills she learned in the Web Applications in GIS course to create this engaging distraction for children during COVID-19. Here are the links to get started:

Gratitude

Each week I have the opportunity to connect with CEOs across our region and statewide. These meetings provide opportunity for discussion and sharing of how colleges are maintaining service to students. The ways in which Cuesta College transitioned all instruction and services to remote delivery is exceptional. The way we continue to provide access to academic technology and resources for our most vulnerable student population is unmatched. Because of you, we are supporting student completion during this most challenging and unprecedented time. Because of you, this billboard stands on Highway 101 in support of our students and our community. Thank you for your service!

Billboard

Jill signature

Jill Stearns, Ph.D.
Cuesta College Superintendent / President