Be prepared for the possibility of online classes all spring

Lance Nelson, Editor-in-Chief

Although no announcements have been made regarding if or when in-person instruction would recommence within the San Diego Community College District (SDCCD), Chancellor, Dr. Constance M. Carroll would like students and faculty to be prepared for online instruction lasting through the end of spring semester. This information was provided to the The Mesa Press by SDCCD Director of Communications and Public Relations Jack Beresford on March 20.

In the update, Beresford expressed that as the situation is developing, the district is following instruction from the governor, state public health, and the County of San Diego.

This announcement is in conjunction with a March 20 KUSI News segment in which Chancellor Carroll gave an update on classes that would normally require in-person instruction like science labs and allied health. “We are working with the licensing agencies to try to find some flexibility around those in-person requirements,” stated the chancellor.

The issue the chancellor is referencing is that many majors, such as those in the healthcare field, require a clinical setting to complete certification. Understanding that the coronavirus has made hands-on learning unrealistic, the district is advocating for a shift to virtual work for the current semester. This would be done through a sophisticated system that, as Beresford stated, “would allow students to achieve the same level of proficiency outside of a traditional clinical setting.”

Pointing to the recent March 19 “stay-at-home” order from California Gov. Gavin Newsom, which ordered 40 million Californians to avoid leaving their home unless absolutely necessary, the chancellor added in the same KUSI News segment, “In-person learning is not supported right now, legally.”

Another aspect to consider is how these changes could possibly impact students who are planning to apply to educational institutions subsequent to their time within SDCCD. Beresford explained that the district has been working with officials from California State Universities and other institutions to make sure any decisions made will not affect transfer students.

Beresford added that operational decisions are discussed by the chancellor and campus presidents daily as more information unfolds. At this time, however, no timelines have been given for announcing whether or not in-person classes will resume.

SDCCD students are currently readying themselves for the shift to online instruction, which is scheduled to begin March 23. This includes 6,200 class sections spread out between San Diego Mesa, Miramar and City Colleges. According to the district, 100% of these courses will be online.