Town Hall Meeting from April 11

Joined by Valley librarian Mike Fitzgerald, President Gribbons updated students and answered live questions in Monday’s town hall meeting.

By Sarah Best, News Editor

Beginning shortly after 1 p.m., the live meeting with Valley President Barry Gribbons included more information on CARES Act funding, EWs, an update on virtual recognition, how classes will look for the fall and a presentation of library-provided remote services.

Though the deadline for EWs has already passed, the president disclosed that petitions for EWs are still being accepted through the remainder of the spring semester. Concerning CARES Act funding, every student who was awarded a Pell Grant has received $300 from the first wave of aid, including roughly 5,400 Valley College students. The president also reminded students of the confirmed exclusively-online summer session and touched on what may happen for the fall semester.

“We’re currently in the middle of planning for making recovery plans for the district and the college,” explained Gribbons. “I would expect over the next two weeks we’ll be able to announce some more details.”

$25,000 was donated to the Family Resource Center by the Weingart Foundation “in support of our students who are also parents.” Gribbons also expressed gratitude to the Gene Haas Foundation who awarded seven Valley graduates from the manufacturing academy $500 stipends each. Furthermore, 10 Valley nursing students will be awarded $450 courtesy of the Foundation for California Community Colleges along with the California Community College Chancellor’s Office. In addition to the 132 students who received $250 each from the LAVC Foundation, 16 more students can expect to receive their award next week.

Shortly after, librarian Mike Fitzgerald spoke about not only important changes to the library’s website but how those changes can benefit students as finals rapidly approach. Fitzgerald encouraged students to think of Valley’s library staff as “professional researchers” as he gave a virtual tour of the new-and-improved website. 24/7 access to librarians via the live chat feature, answers to FAQs, off-campus help, and free online textbooks are just some of the newly-added resources.

There were many questions from students as to why they are being charged for classes that they have dropped and received an EW for and/or if they will be refunded for classes. Gribbons assured students that EWs do not hinder GPA or impede progress, as well as have minimal effects on those who are transferring.

“We’re working through some issues with students who drop some of their classes, but not all of their classes,” explained Gribbons. “We’re looking to find a solution for you. You can contact our financial aid office, but they’ll also be reaching out to you and other students that are in the same situation.”

As far as future financial assistance for students, he also noted that the college is in the middle of deliberating the logistics of the next disbursement.

"For Valley College, that means we still have close to half of the money available to award in emergency grants,” added the president. "We're now in the process of determining the emergency grants available to students."

Though DACA students are not eligible for CARES Act money, other aid options specifically made for them are still available.

“We’re committed to ensuring that our dreamers are also supported,” said Gribbons. “We’re making arrangements for $300 awards to our Dreamers who are also in need.”

As far as Chromebooks, 300 Valley students who have applied for one, have yet to receive it. As Gribbons stated in last week’s meeting, the district has switched vendors in an effort to expedite the process of receiving a laptop. With Valley mailing out Chromebooks this week, those 300 students can expect to get theirs soon.

The virtual recognition for 2020 graduates on June 9 will entail student-submitted pictures and short clips. Cap and gowns can be ordered through the LAVC Bookstore and more information as to how to do so will be sent out soon.

“The current plan is to have all fall classes online and then we will add additional face-to-face classes when safe to do so,” concluded Gribbons. “As soon as we determine that it’s safe to add face-to-face classes and it’s consistent with the safer at-home orders that are in place, then we’ll add the additional classes to the schedule. The online schedule is expected to be released in about three weeks.”

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