Community colleges throughout San Diego and Imperial counties are quickly adapting to the COVID-19 pandemic by transitioning to online classes and teleconferencing with students, faculty, and staff to ensure operations continue as seamlessly as possible. Board meetings are being held via Zoom, tutoring is being offered remotely, and colleges are providing laptops, internet access, and food to students in need.
“We are unified through the same goal: to continue to serve our students, protect the health and safety of our employees, and help slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus,” said Southwestern College Superintendent/President Dr. Kindred Murillo, who also serves as president of the San Diego & Imperial Counties Community Colleges Association.
Among the initiatives taking place around the region:
Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District
Classes and student support services at Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges are being held remotely until the end of the spring semester on June 1, and both campuses will remain closed to all students and the public at least until then. All instructional activities and office hours, including any lab courses, and support services will be held in some form of remote delivery. Faculty will be communicating directly with their students regarding next steps. All but essential District employees were directed to work from home beginning March 20.
All student events through June 1 also are cancelled, and intercollegiate athletics games are cancelled indefinitely. Decisions have not been made regarding commencement at the two East County colleges. For more information, go to the district's COVID-19 web page.
The Imperial Valley College campus is closed until further notice, but courses have either been moved or are in the process of being moved online, and students in need are being provided with laptops and internet service. All public events, including sports, have been cancelled. Further information is available via the Imperial Valley College COVID-19 webpage.
“This is a rapidly changing situation and we appreciate everyone’s patience as college leadership works to ensure a safe and healthy learning environment for our students, employees and the community,” Superintendent/President Dr. Martha Garcia said. “I am extremely grateful to the IVC employees for their compassion and commitment to do what is necessary to teach and support our students through this difficult situation.”
All public events – including commencement and end-of-the-year celebrations – have been cancelled at MiraCosta College, which extended its spring break by a week to allow for a more seamless transition to online and other remote instruction through the remainder of the semester when classes resume March 30. Student support services, including counseling and e-tutoring, also will be held online. Students and employees are directed to work remotely and are asked not to come to MiraCosta College campus sites. Updates can be found at the MiraCosta College COVID-19 web page.
“During this unprecedented and dynamic time, MiraCosta College remains nimble in serving our students. Our focus continues to be on keeping those in our community safe, being flexible as we ensure the integrity of our educational mission to students and preventing harm to employees” wrote MiraCosta College Superintendent/President Dr. Sunita Cooke in an email to the college community.
Palomar College in San Marcos, which cancelled its May 22 commencement, will deliver all its classes and labs remotely via Canvas, web conferencing, or similar approach when the semester resumes March 30 following spring break, and the nonprofit Palomar College Foundation has distributed 400 computers to students who would otherwise be unable to take their courses online. The Foundation is continuing to accept applications for emergency grants and is accepting donations from the public. Students who are seeking academic support or other basic need resources can visit the Student FAQs and a Quick Guide to Student Services. In addition, Palomar has designed a new faculty TeachAnywhere website, which contains resources and FAQs on teaching remotely and supporting students in an online environment.
Only essential personnel who are critical to the operations of the college will be given access to the main campus or education centers in Fallbrook, Escondido and Rancho Bernardo. Updates can be found at the Palomar College COVID-19 web page.
San Diego Community College District
San Diego City, Mesa, and Miramar colleges and all seven San Diego Continuing Education campuses are closed and have transitioned completely to online classes. Each institution is working to assist students and faculty with the transition, including providing them with laptops, webcams and other equipment. SDCCD Chancellor Dr. Constance M. Carroll has said the district should be prepared to finish the spring semester completely online and that the summer session will also be offered completely online. All district events except for commencement have been canceled. Also canceled are several summer study abroad programs. The district’s 5,000 employees – with few exceptions for those with essential duties – are now working remotely, and the district’s Board of Trustees will hold its first online session ever when it meets using Zoom on April 9.
“We are collectively doing our best to reach our two priorities: the health and safety of our students and employees, and the continuity of instruction and operations,” said Chancellor Carroll. “We do not know how long this crisis will last, but I believe we have done our very best work in preparing for it.”
Updates and additional information on resources can be found at the district’s COVID-19 web page.
Effective Monday, March 16, Southwestern College transitioned to remote instruction and operations, and it has established an Online Learning website for workshops and training for both faculty and staff. The college will continue online and alternative distance-learning formats for the remainder of its spring semester and its upcoming summer session. Only essential personnel is allowed at its facilities.
Southwestern College is surveying its graduating class for input on commencement, be it a virtual celebration or postponement to a later date. A decision is expected to be announced by April 10. All other events and ceremonies are canceled at all Southwestern College campuses, including the Crown Cove Aquatic Center.