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Monarchs endure heat wave amid return

Fall of 2022 brings high temperatures, a reversal of the multi-year trend of enrollment decline and new COVID-19 policies.

By Kevin Zuniga, Staff Writer

Groups of students make their way through the outdoor corridor at Los Angeles Valley College campus in the second back to school on September 7, 2022, in Valley Glen, California. (Griffin O'Rourke | Valley Star)

As the fall semester fires up, many Monarchs were relieved to lower their masks as temperatures stayed above 100 degrees throughout the first week.

The bustling campus welcomed new and returning students on Aug. 29. The return to campus aligned with a severe heat wave, bringing about a new policy that allows instructors to switch to an online class forum if the indoor temperature exceeds 82 degrees, according to the office of academic affairs.

“I think I’m gonna die from the heat,” said Micha Marcelo, a second-year nursing major. “Without masks we could breathe normally and I think having them on would make it worse.”

The new semester also brings new COVID-19 policies. Though the LACCD strongly recommends wearing masks indoors for the fall semester, students are not required to be vaccinated. This is a stark change in policy, as previous semesters enforced both a mask and vaccination guidelines.

“I think the COVID-19 policy is both good and bad,” said first-year nursing major Genesis Lara. “I don’t like wearing masks so that’s good. What’s bad is that some people get sick or are sick but don’t wear a mask.”

Due to the surge of the omicron variant of COVID-19 during the spring semester, the district issued a preference for N95 masks. Although the rules for masking differ from previous semesters, disposable masks are still available at the entrance of some buildings.

Valley instituted Cleared4 scanner stations during the spring semester for students and faculty to verify that they had taken a symptom self-check survey before accessing any facilities. They were displayed at the entrance of all buildings, however due to lack of enforcement and engagement, they have been subsequently removed.

If students have not received the email regarding the new policy, they may find information regarding Valley’s COVID-19 policies at the school’s website, on the home page under “LAVC COVID-19 Updates.”

According to Tanya Sirkin, executive assistant of the office of the president, Valley will abide by the LACCD’s COVID-19 policy, and will not go beyond any recommended guidelines.

Headcount has been on the decline for the last three years, however Valley College has seen a seven percent spike, or an increase of 924 students between this semester and last spring according to Valley President Barry Gribbons. Along with a higher headcount comes a demographic shift towards diversity with historically underrepresented groups seeing an increase. The Black and African-American student population increased by 12 percent and Latinx by 10.3 percent.

With the growing student population, clubs and organizations such as the ASU, Umoja Black Scholars and the Gay Straight Alliance have proposed ambitious calendars of on-campus events. Students can check the calendar of events to stay up to date on campus events.

With contributions by Cassandra Nava


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