Chancellor Oakley outlines community college system’s COVID-19 response, fall semester preparations

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The logo for California Community Colleges

On April 14, California Community Colleges Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley hosted a teleconference discussing various topics affecting the community college system and its students. 

The topics included the Chancellor’s Office COVID-19 response, executive orders and guidance issued for colleges, students and faculty resources available and 2020 Census efforts. 

“Our system is stepping up during this time of need to support our students, their families and our communities,” said Oakley. 

The conference started off by addressing several executive orders that were put in place to help support students through the transition online. 

“First, we issued an executive order temporarily suspending students’ withdrawal regulations to address the continuity of education in our colleges,” Oakley said.

On the same day, Delta College sent out emails to students regarding Excused Withdrawal and a Pass/No Pass option for some classes.

“Given the current situation the guidance allows colleges the flexibility to issue excused withdrawal which do not count against GPA (grade-point average) and academic probation,” said Executive Vice Chancellor Marty Alvarado. 

Students who withdraw from a course will be refunded enrollment fees. 

 “We’ve provided an executive order for refunding students their enrollment fees after the drop date. If a student has a COVID-19 related circumstance we expect our colleges to give the refund,” said Oakley.

Also, various grade regulations were suspended to make the grading policy more accommodating for students.

Oakley also discussed steps being taken in preparation for Fall 2020. 

“None of our colleges will close offerings, we will continue to educate no matter what happens. We have instructed all of our colleges to prepare for this environment to extend into the Spring of 2021. We need to continue to move courses onto Canvas, provide faculty professional development, think about how to continue to operate and support our students in a remote environment. If we’re able to pull back from that, that would be great,” said Oakley.

 A contingency plan is in place if the quartaine conditions remain the same. 

The Chancellor’s Office is making resources available to both students and faculty. 

“The resources we’re making available system-wide are meal distributions at campuses, magnets for some jobs, laptop giveaways, increased parking lot wifi access, emergency grants by the college future foundation, and many colleges have been donating personal protective equipment to their local medical centers,” said Oakley.

The Chancellor’s Office also launched two sites to provide resources and information to students. One is a micro-website regarding COVID-19 facts and information which can be found on the California Community College Chancellor’s Office homepage, www.cccco.edu. The other website provides resources to help students stay enrolled and succeed online. It can be found at stayenrolled.com.

“The resources we need and the representation you deserve as students will be impacted by how many people are counted in this Census. This year’s census we’re collaborating with the California Complete Count – Census 2020 office to encourage every student to be counted for,” Oakley said. “Despite the current COVID-19 pandemic we will continue to see through our commitment to serving our students and supporting them in every way we can and continuing to advocate to our students both at the state and federal level.”