The 2021 spring semester for LACCD students will be primarily online.
By Marcos Franco, Staff Writer
As a result of the ongoing public health emergency caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Los Angeles Community College District students hoping to return to their desks next spring may be further from in-person classes than they expect.
Chancellor Francisco Rodriguez announced Sept. 11 that spring 2021 classes will be held primarily online. On-campus instruction for classes that support the essential workforce and require a more hands-on approach, however, will continue to take place in person. Of the 77 subjects offered at Valley College, five fall into this category: fire tech, nursing, respiratory therapy, computer programming and machine shop.
“I personally would prefer a hybrid style of classes,” said Julion Martin, a 24-year-old Valley student. “I would love to be physically present, but unfortunately with COVID, that’s not possible.”
While colleges within Los Angeles face heavy restrictions for in-person lectures, campuses on the East Coast, such as Boston College, have allowed a portion of their students to return to the classroom this fall with new safety measures in place. In-person classes are held at 50 percent capacity and students are asked to monitor their daily well-being through the school’s mobile app. Frequent sanitization is done by students before and after classes as well as professionally deep cleaned overnight. According to the latest update by the university, out of the 7,933 tests recorded the week of Sept. 25, only 26 cases returned positive — a 0.33 percent positivity rate.
On the other hand, colleges such as The University of North Carolina and James Madison University (Virginia) welcomed students back to campus for housing but before in-person classes had the chance to start, students were sent home due to spikes in the surrounding communities. Though the decision was a precautionary measure, the reaction may be counterintuitive according to health officials.
“It's the worst thing you could do,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci earlier this month according to World Report U.S News. “When you send them home, particularly when you're dealing with a university where people come from multiple different locations, you could be seeding the different places with infection.”
White House officials agreed with Fauci’s claim, warning governors that students sent home, potentially asymptomatic, could pose a greater risk for the United States as a whole.
Though it is possible that case numbers can increase with more students on campus, some Valley students are disappointed by the decision.
“I would feel safe on campus,” said Denese Fonseca, a 21-year-old nursing major with a remote class schedule. “With all the precautionary measures, like wearing masks and hand washing, I don’t feel at high risk.”
Although the announcement of yet another distance learning semester may have caused a negative response from Valley students, the district is hopeful that as conditions improve, students could see a return to some additional on-campus activities next semester.