Campus facilities remain open as faculty encouraged to prepare for alternate instruction methods

District leaders meet with trustees via phone for an emergency meeting to change the academic calendar. Photo by Ryan Barba

By Isis Piccillo/Editor-in-Chief

In an emergency meeting held this afternoon, the Peralta Community College District Board of Trustees voted unanimously to move the Peralta Community College Spring Break to next week, one of many actions taken in response to the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Peralta’s spring break was originally scheduled for April 12 but has now been moved to  Monday, March 15. According to an email sent by Chancellor Regina Stanback Stroud Wednesday morning, the sudden change to the academic calendar was made to “allow instructional faculty to attend training offered at their respective college and evaluate optional resources for potentially transitioning their classes to remote forms of instruction as needed.” 

A graphic explaining coronavirus date changes

In addition to the spring break change, Chancellor Stanback Stroud announced during the March 10 Board of Trustees meeting that face-to-face classes would be canceled district-wide from March 11 to March 14. Communication from the district about the change did not come until the early hours of March 11.

Peralta Federation of Teachers (PFT) union president Jennifer Shanoski said the union negotiated the change to the academic calendar that moved spring break up and worked to ensure faculty rights would be upheld in the occurrence of a shutdown. 

“PFT is committed to making sure all faculty, staff, and students are safe–the faculty union feels it is important to be part of this conversation,” Shanoski said. 

She also explained that the intent of moving the break was  to “minimize exposure while trying to ensure students get the hours they need.”

During the emergency board meeting, Stanback Stroud emphasized that the district’s plans were made with the next 30 days in mind, barring any major developments with the virus locally. 

Siri Brown, vice chancellor of academic affairs, said options for instructional delivery starting March 23 could include going fully online using the Peralta course management system Canvas, emailing recorded lectures emailed to students, or using other learning platforms such as Microsoft teams. However, face-to-face instruction will not be prohibited

As distance learning (DE) is implemented, Brown said students should be aware that campus libraries, counseling offices, and other facilities will remain open for students through the rest of the week, and students and faculty can seek support as needed.

Brown said training and drop-in hours are available for the rest of the week to help faculty transition their instruction, and students are also welcome to visit campus Learning Centers, computer labs and libraries for assistance navigating Canvas and online platforms.

For open facilities and resources available during spring break, students and faculty are encouraged to inquire at their individual college.

For students without reliable access to computers or the internet, in addition to campus resources, Merritt College computer information systems instructor Courtney Brown compiled a list of resources to help students bridge the digital divide, including WiFi hotspots and programs for free or discounted computers are available.

On all campuses, many medium-sized gatherings and events — consisting of 100 or more people — will be canceled or postponed following guidance from the Alameda County Public Health Department, according to Laney College President Tammeil Gilkerson. 

 

CORRECTION: At this time, it is unclear which facilities and resources will be available to students and faculty during spring break. Once a list of open facilities and available resources is clarified, The Citizen will share it with our readers. A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that all four campuses’ facilities such as libraries, counseling offices, and other resources will be open to students during spring break. The Citizen regrets this error.

 

Additional resources:

Peralta Community College District:

https://web.peralta.edu/health-services/coronavirus/

Peralta Resources for Navigating Distance Education Tools:

https://web.peralta.edu/de/

Alameda County Department of Public Health:

http://www.acphd.org/2019-ncov.aspx

CDC:

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html

California Community College Chancellor’s Office:

https://www.cccco.edu/About-Us/Chancellors-Office/Divisions/Communications-and-Marketing/Novel-Coronavirus