What students should know before Monday

By The Citizen Staff

text saying peralta classes resume April 6 campuses remain closed

While campuses remain closed until June 30 due to extended shelter-in-place directives, most classes resume online or remotely Monday, April 6.

Most instruction will be online, although the district is looking to find ways to continue classes that prepare students for essential services such as healthcare.

You should have received some contact from your instructor. If you have not, the next step is to contact the chair of the department, according to Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs Siri Brown.
Individual colleges lists of department chair contact information: College of Alameda, Berkeley City College, Laney College, Merritt College

If you don’t have consistent access to internet or necessary technology
The Peralta Community College District and California Community College Chancellor’s Office have circulated resources that provide free or low-cost internet.

Chancellor Regina Stanback Stroud confirmed on Wednesday, April 1, that the district has purchased around 9,000 Chromebooks to distribute to students who need them. Because of high demand nationwide, the suppliers can only deliver 1,000 Chromebooks for the time being. Stanback Stroud said the colleges and the district are working together to develop a distribution or borrowing process.

The remaining 8,000 Chromebooks will come later–there is no estimated delivery time. To identify students in need of these materials, the district and individual colleges have circulated surveys by email. The district survey can be found here.

Options to drop this semester
Students who are overwhelmed by their current situation and wish to drop a class have three options, according to Brown. These options are excused withdrawal (EW), incomplete (I), and pass/no pass (P/NP).

Excused withdrawal (EW)
All withdrawals taken after March 26 will immediately be reclassified on transcripts as excused withdrawals for the rest of the semester. Those who withdrew after March 10 but before March 26 can fill out a Request for Excused Withdrawal form to change it to an EW. You can also get an EW by submitting this form to the email on the form, which can be submitted for up to a year after the semester ends. Professors can also give EWs for up to a year after the semester via a Record Correction Form, which anyone can request by emailing their professor. An EW will not impact GPA, student academic progress, or a student’s ability to retake the class.

Incomplete (I)
An incomplete appears as an “I” on transcripts and gives students one year to turn in an agreed-upon list of work to replace their final grade. To qualify for an incomplete grade, the student must seek approval from their instructor, and both must sign a form (that can be found here) and identify what coursework the student must turn in within a year. It is up to the instructor to grant an incomplete; some might choose not to.

Pass/No Pass (P/NP)
Some, but not all, classes will be eligible for a pass/no pass grade. If you are interested in switching to pass/no pass, email your instructor to find out if it is an option. Note that opting for pass/no pass for certain classes on a transcript might not be accepted by four-year colleges if looking to transfer, but some institutions also may have made exceptions in light of the coronavirus.

If you choose EW– can you get a tuition refund?
Brown said Peralta is not currently planning to issue tuition refunds for those who take an EW. An executive order from the California Community College state chancellor’s office said “a district may provide full refund of enrollment fees to any student who withdraws due to emergency conditions.” Several California community colleges in the Bay Area said they will be issuing refunds to students needing EW’s, including Ohlone College, Contra Costa Community College District, and City College of San Francisco.

Brown said, “We are following the guidelines from the state about this, and again, it’s another topic that we’re paying attention to,” she said. “As the weeks unfold, if there is new information, we will definitely share it with students.”

Questions seeking to clarify why Peralta won’t issue refunds were not answered before the time of publication.

If you are housing or food insecure
Health navigators are available by phone to help students who are experiencing homelessness, struggling to find secure housing arrangements, or having difficulty getting enough food.
Roots Community Health Center
Health Navigator Hours: 9am-5pm
(510) 533-1248

Links to community resources, such as food banks, can be found at these individual college websites: Berkeley City College, Laney College

If you need access health care resources
All current students have access to Peralta health centers thanks to the $18 fee paid with tuition. Although on-campus health centers are closed, health services partner Roots Community Health Center has opened its East Oakland 7272 MacArthur Blvd location to provide services to students off campus. The site opened March 30.

Comprehensive care–including sexually transmitted infections (STI) testing, flu shots, family planning services–are provided cost-free to current students. Certain unusual or extended services may be outside of the scope of coverage, but this can be determined over the phone or with clinic staff. Peralta District Director of Health Services Mia Kelly said that students should call first rather than dropping in. Health navigators are available to help students address issues with insurance, provide referrals, and connect students with resources for food or housing insecurity.

Mental health counselors will be available at the college level and accessible through individual college websites next week. In the meantime, mental health counselors are also available by email, and Peralta students can contact counselors from any of the colleges.

For students who may be experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, Kelly said that calling the clinic will allow staff to complete a screen over the phone. From there, providers decide whether students should come to the office or be referred for testing.

Students must bring proof of current enrollment, such as a current student ID card. Kelly said that students without ID cards should call the office to determine what could be used instead.

Roots Community Health Center
(510) 533-1248
7272 MacArthur Blvd, Oakland
Open Monday through Friday
Hours: 9am-5pm
Health Navigators: 8:30am-5pm
Lunch: 12-1pm

By Jacquelyn Opalach/News Editor, and Isis Piccillo/Editor-in-Chief
Ryan Barba/Associate Editor, and Kasper Dilmaghani/Copy Editor contributed to this report.