Updated: Apr 13, 2020
New scholarship applications created to aid those hardest hit by COVID-19 were shared in today’s Town Hall in hopes of relieving some of the current stress students may have.
By Savannah Simmons, Opinion Editor
Valley College President Gribbons shared information about scholarships, emergency funds and student services with students Monday afternoon in his latest Virtual Town Hall.
After a rough start due to technical difficulties, Gribbons appeared on screen in his signature bowtie to host the 25 minute-long live stream, which is the second installment of his weekly Town Hall meetings where students are able to ask questions and get live answers.
“For the nearly 17,000 students here at LA Valley College, I wanna say welcome back,” said Gribbons in his opening statement. “Today, on March 30, 2020, is an important historical day for our college in our 70 year history. The last two weeks have marked our most significant transformation.”
The Valley College Foundation has established the COVID 19 Emergency Stipend fund “to help students facing financial hardship as a result of COVID-19.” Students must be enrolled in a minimum of three units and have a financial emergency such as a loss of income, or need help with access to remote delivery. These students will be eligible for a one-time grant of up to $500 and as the foundation plans to distribute funds immediately, Venmo accounts will help speed up the process.
The other Valley Foundation scholarship deadlines have been extended until April 10. Gribbons shared that only 70 applications have been completed with 116 scholarships available in total. He reminded students to finish their applications, as there are a number of incomplete applications still in the process.
It was also announced that food scholarship applications are now available through the Foundation for the Los Angeles Community Colleges. Gift cards for $50 from Ralphs or Food 4 Less will be provided for students who apply and “who face food insecurities that compromise their ability to continue their studies or successfully engage in their classes.”
Chromebook applications are also available on the district’s Foundation site as the district has placed an order for 3,000 Chromebooks for students to borrow. There are thousands of students already on the list but the district will be receiving a shipment of Chromebooks every week. As these are set up for student use, more specific instructions will be provided.
This stream, being that it is the first week classes are back in session after the two-week break, elicited many questions from students who were watching live.
“My professor hasn’t replied to anyone’s email and because of this, there was no lecture today,” wrote Jake Williams. “My whole class is confused, no one has heard from him.”
Students who have not heard from their instructors or are concerned about how their instructor is handling the switch to the online format were prompted by Gribbons to contact Valley or their department chair for help.
Gribbons reiterated that all classes have been moved to remote or online instruction and none have been cancelled. A list of 23 classes that are moving to online delivery, but may require some face-to-face activities when permitted is available online.
As for student services, NetTutor is currently available for students to use while the Math Lab and Writing Center will be accessible for students next week online. There are currently no in-person services on campus, therefore library books do not need to be returned until June 8 according to the Valley Library COVID-19 webpage. No additional fines will be charged.
Virtual graduation options are being discussed at this time, and Gribbons has also thought about inviting graduates back to participate in in-person festivities next year.
In last week’s Town Hall, Gribbons shared that there was a faculty member diagnosed with COVID-19. He has since gathered that this faculty member is feeling better after having been quarantined for 14 days.
“Today you demonstrated extraordinary resiliency, toughness and ability to overcome any obstacle not letting the coronavirus deter you and your academic pursuits,” said Gribbons speaking to his viewers. “These experiences will indeed leave memories that will never fade or be forgotten, inspiring and motivating us all in the future.”