Saddleback College ramps up campus occupancy starting in the fall

Saddleback College will open campus to all courses in the Fall. Brandon Chavez/Lariat

As coronavirus cases decline, Saddleback College intends to hold in-person classes next semester

Elliot Stern, the president of Saddleback College, sent out an update on April 26, 2021, through an email confirming that courses will be offered online and in-person for the fall semester. In-person classes will be held at a reduced capacity, and classroom lectures will be streamed online from campus. However, classes held online without lectures will still be available.

Before the pandemic, the college offered approximately 28% of our credit courses all online,” said Jennie McCue, the director of Marketing and Communications at Saddleback College. “In fall 2021, we plan to have 50% of our credit courses all online, and the other 50% will have at least some on-campus and in-person meetings.”

Saddleback will enforce mask use indoors and is working to install ventilators in addition to high-level filtration systems around the campus. Although these ventilators minimize the risk of contracting the virus, the county still requires people to get a coronavirus vaccination before entering the campus.

“If you are not planning on being vaccinated, it might be best to schedule your fall classes all-online, and in case vaccinations end up being mandated,” Stern said in an update.

In addition to bringing back in-person classes, Saddleback will re-establish on-campus student services such as counseling and financial aid when the campus re-opens. This will not affect the current online student services, in which the school has decided to keep going forward with.

Some divisions plan to rely heavily on in-person learning, especially the more hands-on subjects. Sherrie Loewen, the dean of Health Sciences and Human Services at Saddleback College, confirmed many of her department’s courses would need to be experienced on campus.

“HSHS will be offering a significant number of in-person courses for students, especially the nursing, medical assisting, EMT, and paramedic programs,” Loewen said. “Human Services and American Sign Language plans on offering more in-person courses in spring 2022.”

Saddleback’s Health Sciences building will soon host in-person classes. Brandon Chavez/Lariat

Though, not every course needs to transition to in-person learning as Saddleback already has some programs on campus which are available to around 2,000 students. These classes, mostly athletics and science labs, were brought back to campus during the spring semester.

“We have maintained social distancing and constant cleaning when students came on campus,” said the dean of Advanced Technology and Applied Science, Anthony Teng. “With the district and college guidance, ATAS is looking forward to bringing students back in a safe manner in the fall.”

No other divisions could be reached for comment. They will likely follow the same regulations established by Saddleback and maintain social distancing in each classroom. Now that Orange County is approaching, the yellow tier restrictions are subject to change.

Registration for the fall semester at Saddleback College started May 10, and enrollments will be adjusted to meet student demand. The Student Health Center is offering coronavirus vaccinations by appointment all throughout the spring and summer semester. Masks will be required indoors until evidence of mass immunity is reached.