Some California Colleges to Offer Online Fall Classes
A rising number of community colleges in California are planning to provide all fall classes online for the protection of staff and students from COVID-19.
Specifically, nine colleges in the Los Angeles Community District, Sierra College, Santa Rosa Junior College, Sierra College of the Desert, and Santa Monica College announced this week, most of their classes would be provided remotely in the fall.
Relatively, UCLA officials are planning to provide the students with the choice of how they would want to attend their classes for fall this year.
College of Desert president Joel Kinnamon said, the students, staff, and faculty's health and safety, as well as "maintaining the quality of our learning and teaching programs are of the greatest importance for the college," which has roughly 10,000 undergraduate students in Palm Desert.
Incidentally, with a rise in the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the service area of the college, combined with the absence of a vaccine and the probability of the second wave of contagions, Kinnamon said they felt "this was the most practical path."
The said announcements indicated the decisions the other colleges in California may also end up making, which include the 111 other community colleges of the state. To date, Calbright is the state's lone purely-online community college.
A lot of colleges are considering how classes will be offered this fall.
Nevertheless, just a handful of institutions have already decided on the things they'd do, despite the rising anxiety from families and students over the impact of such decisions in them.
Gene Block, UCLA Chancellor, and Emily Carter, a provost to the university and executive vice chancellor, said though it might be impossible for some of their students to travel safely to campus, "We plan to provide the option of remote learning," at least for fall, even though some classes are conducted in person.
Meanwhile, the Sierra College officials, mainly in the Sacramento area, said via Twitter that they wanted to offer the students "as much advance notice as possible," and therefore, decided for online-only classes this fall.
The college said, making such a decision earlier allows them to be more prepared for online learning. It also gives the staff ample time to be prepared for this format.
Sierra College currently has roughly 16,000 enrollees. With the probability of a recurrence of the virus this season, the College continued, students will not have to worry anymore about making a rapid transition to remote or online learning.
Nevertheless, the college officials explained, some classes cannot take place virtually or via online. They added, they will keep on searching for substitutes like a combination of in-person and virtual classes, to assist the students in completing their courses.
Los Angeles Community College District and Santa Monica College
Los Angeles Community College District chancellor, Francisco Rodriguez, on the other hand, said they have been doing all they can to look for "flexible solutions for classes that require clinical experience, labs, or any other hands-on requirement."
The Santa Monica College, with roughly 26,000 students, earlier this week, decided that its almost 3,000 classes would be offered online starting August 31, this fall quarter.
The decision to continue the purely-online instruction this whole fall quarter was said to have been based on two factors. First was that the officials of Santa Monica don't think vaccines for COVID-19 will be available until next year.
Second, it would be almost impossible for the college, described as "open-access" to observe and determine the differences between people who have COVID-19 and those who have the usual flu.
Santa Rosa Junior College
Frank Chong, the president of Santa Rosa Junior College, issued a statement on Thursday saying, the college would also be offering online classes this fall quarter.
He said some courses would require face-to-face or in-person learning like the hands-on labs and those that the Public Safety Training Center offers. But where possible, he continued, they would work "alongside staff and faculty in these areas to provide in-person instruction" using the social distancing procedures of the college.
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