Blue waves behind the words Coast Colleges in dark blue

Weekly News Brief | October 15, 2021
From the Office of Chancellor John Weispfenning, Ph.D.

Chancellor Weispfenning at his desk typing

This week, I am thankful to have good news to share. Orange County's COVID-19 seven-day number for new cases is one-third the figure from late August. Meanwhile, more than two-thirds of Orange County residents have received at least one dose of the vaccine. That seems to echo progress seen throughout California, which now has one of the lowest rates for new COVID-19 infections in the United States.

It feels as though we are turning a corner, but of course we were here before in March and April. That hopeful spring turned to a summer of disappointment. The lesson is that we cannot rush a recovery. The virus is still spreading freely in other parts of the nation and world. We must be vigilant in protecting our district, colleges, communities, and families.

At the same time, our educational mission does not stop. Your support for our students is just as important in October 2021 as it was in October 2019. The benefits of an in-person college experience, even for those primarily online, are just as tangible now as they were then.

The move to a three-day-per-week in-person schedule for offices is intended to be cautiously balanced. It is my hope that you find ways to maximize that time in person to support our students of highest need and provide essential support for your colleagues.

To help keep you and our students safe while at the Coast District, office/department occupancy will be kept to 50 percent of normal, enhanced cleaning and airflow practices will remain in place, face covering requirement and social distancing guidance will be enforced, and we are taking steps to implement the vaccination mandate with testing protocol.

Balance is one of the hardest things to maintain when facing uncertainty. We should embrace good news without losing perspective. We should practice caution without being frozen in fear. I'm grateful that the Coast District has been able to have the hard conversations necessary to keep our footing while moving forward.

The work we do in the remainder of fall semester 2021 will set the pace for our return in spring semester 2022 – a return that we can hopefully maintain for good.

Be well,


John Weispfenning, Ph.D.


College News

Three variations of the Coastline College dolphins.


For their 45th anniversary, Coastline College revealed their new mascot, Fin. Fin possesses the same qualities of innovation, exploration, and determination as the rest of the Coastline community. Fin is also a reminder that Coastline cares about the educational environment of its students. Coastline's latest blog goes over in depth as to why Fin was chosen as the new mascot.



Mercedes Bracey is a recent Fountain Valley High School graduate and new full-time student at Golden West College. Mercedes attended the Explore GWC! 2021 Online Open House event last spring to learn more about GWC's academic programs and student support services. After attending online sessions and answering GWC trivia questions, Mercedes won the Grand Prize: a brand-new Dell Inspiron 15 3505 Laptop, donated by the GWC Foundation.


Mercedes Bracey with a laptop in front of the Student Center.



The Orange County Department of Education (OCDE) has named Orange Coast College academic counselor Eileen Tom the Community College Counselor of the Year for 2021-2022. Tom, who has worked at OCC since 2008 and currently serves as chair of the counseling department, will be honored at the 2021 Virtual Orange County Counselor Symposium on November 10. In addition to being the assigned counselor for OCC's Transfer and Honors programs, Tom also serves on the College's Curriculum Committee and is the counseling liaison for OCC's STEM Academy. She is a leader within the counseling department, and has gone above and beyond during the past 18 months of the pandemic caused by COVID-19.


Celebrating Hispanic Heritage

Multiple colors of paper decorations with the words National Hispanic Heritage Month

The Coast District is proud to celebrate the contributions of Hispanic and Latinx leaders districtwide. Leadership is demonstrated in multiple ways by students, faculty, classified and confidential staff, and management.

Portrait of Angelica Suarez

Celebration of Family

Today's words of recognition are from Angelica Suarez, President of Orange Coast College.

What brings you joy?
When I reflect on what brings me joy, I am transported to special times with family. Growing up in a large Mexican family, we would gather to celebrate special occasions with food, music, dancing and storytelling. And today, as I spend time with my grandchildren, DiaLuna and Kayin, it is important for me to share these experiences with them as an important part of their cultural heritage.


Schedule, Week of October 18

Domestic Violence Awareness Month: The Coast District Title IX offices have collaborated to provide programming throughout the month of October. Details are available here.

Undocumented Student Action Week: The California Community Colleges are offering a panel and multiple sessions throughout the week of October 18-22 advancing continuing work to support dreamer students on campus and advocate for a lasting legal protection.

Board of Trustees
The next regular meeting will be held Wednesday, October 20, with closed session beginning at 4:00 p.m. and open session at 5:00 p.m.

Chancellor's Schedule
In the District, Monday through Friday