Orange Coast, Golden West and Coastline college students will start spring semester in a live online format, after Coast Community College District announced Wednesday a plan to cut back on in-person classes through Feb. 13 as countywide coronavirus cases soar.
Classes at Costa Mesa’s Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa and Golden West College in Huntington Beach were on track to return in the spring semester Jan. 31 with about 60% of courses to be offered in-person, CCCD spokesman Erik Fallis said Wednesday.
But with Orange County’s infection rate on a steady incline since the winter holiday, protocols have been shifted.
Except for courses in which hands-on or in-person learning is critical — such as certain lab courses, career technical education classes and performance-based lessons — students will be asked to stay online the first two weeks of the semester.
Faculty members who do not need to be on campus will work remotely upon their return from the winter break on Jan. 18 and will teach their classes, at the scheduled times, live and online, Fallis said.
“A faculty member will be on screen teaching live during the same time as the class is scheduled for,” he said. “That’s our plan until Feb. 14 — we’re going to monitor the situation now and continuously to see if adjustments need to be made.”
Employees who sought exemptions from providing proof of a COVID-19 vaccination, for medical or religious reasons or due to a sincere personal belief, must now provide a negative COVID-19 test weekly. To facilitate that, each campus in the district now has a location where tests are offered and results recorded for returning employees and students.
In a districtwide release issued Wednesday, Chancellor John Weispfenning said plans and protocol are designed to flex in accordance with public safety orders and virus trends.
“We are taking these immediate steps out of concern for the health and safety of all those who teach, learn, live and work at our colleges,” he said. “We will continue to be flexible as we strive to give students quality education and support service, while also safeguarding public health.”
The Orange County Health Care Agency Thursday reported 6,266 new infections with a seven-day average virus positivity rate of 19%. Some 724 individuals are hospitalized with COVID-19, and the county’s three-day average rate of hospitalization up by nearly 30%.
Classes currently offered during CCCD’s winter intersession, running through Jan. 28, will continue in a primarily online format with the few in-person exceptions observing enhanced safety precautions.
Original Source: LA Times