California Community College Chancellor Eloy Oakley hosted a teleconference via Zoom to speak out about the current status of community colleges and what students and staff should expect moving forward during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Federal funding such as Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act has provided colleges with resources to aid the transition to online. All California Community Colleges had made the transition to online instruction/learning by the end of Mar. using the funding from the CARES Act. Colleges have provided students without the proper resources with the needed technology such as laptops, tablets and portable “Mi-Fi.”
More recently, the California Community College Office has issued several executive orders to aid in ensuring student flexibility and security.
“First, we issued an executive order temporarily suspending student withdrawal regulations to address the continuity of education in our colleges during the COVID-19 declared states of emergency,” Chancellor Oakley said. “This was followed by a temporary suspension of various specified grave relations to address again the continuity of education, and to make our grading system more flexible in this time of crisis.”
Besides technology, there are several other resources specific California community colleges are providing to students. These include meal distribution, parking lot Wi-Fi access, philanthropic emergency grants and personal protective equipment to medical staff.
The Chancellor also spoke on the importance of participating in the California Census, stressing that Congressional representation and educational funding provided to our state depends completely on all students being counted.
Student media representatives were given time to ask questions on what students should expect in the coming semesters, and how resources are planned of being allocated.
One of the most pressing issues for current students is how the pandemic will affect the transfer process to UC and CSU universities. The conference hosts assured the virtual audience that there will be supports for students planning to transfer in the fall, in addition to students impacted by the pandemic and who are planning to transfer in future semesters.
“They are accepting pass/no pass, they are working for students who may not be completing Associate Degrees for transfer who may need to defer enrollment for transfer and or who may transfer a few units shy of the full 60 required,” said Executive Vice Chancellor for Educational Services, Marty Malvardado.
Each California Community College campus has been impacted by the pandemic differently. Some campuses have been converted into emergency facilities, while others have taken this opportunity to provide meals and food drives to the community.
Another point emphasized in the conference, is that all students enrolled in community colleges are given this support, no matter the student’s citizen status or not.
“Half of the money allocated to the colleges from the CARES Act is specific to student need, there are no restrictions at this point on those funds,” Chancellor Oakley said. “We have asked our colleges to prioritize resident students, meaning every student that attends our college without a distinction.”
There is no definite answer to when these pandemic procedures will come to an end, but California Community Colleges have made preparations lasting until the Spring of 2021.
Any other FAQ’s or additional information of the California Community College’s response to the COVID-19 Pandemic can be found on the Chancellor’s website.