Updated: Apr 2, 2020
The president of Valley College held an informal online chat with students to inform them about online classes, graduation and financial aid.
By Gabriel Arizon, Editor-in-Chief
In an online Town Hall meeting held for students Wednesday afternoon, Valley College President Barry Gribbons provided an update on online classes and answered pressing questions.
“I want to begin by expressing my appreciation for everyone’s flexibility and resiliency during this pandemic,” Gribbons said. “Guiding you and supporting you on your educational path has always been our highest priority, only superseded by health and safety.”
Gribbons started the 30-minute meeting by reaffirming that all classes but one would begin Monday, March 30 through remote delivery or online. The sole exception, Gribbons explained, is a student with disabilities class. Students in that class will be contacted for other arrangements.
The president continued by announcing that there will be no face-to-face classes or services until at least May 4. He elaborated that classes with external requirements that need face-to-face contact, such as nursing and medical technician classes, will continue online until the “safer at home” orders are lifted.
Students looking to drop classes due to the coronavirus pandemic will receive an early withdrawal (EW) on their transcript. Gribbons reassured students that an EW will not affect their GPA or financial aid, and they will be able to drop their class at any time before the end of the semester.
After his update, Gribbons answered questions asked by viewers in the live chat. Among those questions, two topics came up repeatedly: financial aid and graduation. Gribbons stated that financial aid will not be affected and additional grant opportunities will be provided. The Foundation is also offering emergency grants amid the “unique circumstances” students are now facing due to COVID-19. Meanwhile, options for commencement are still being discussed, such as postponing it for a later date, but no definitive answer was given.
When asked if there were any cases of coronavirus on campus, Gribbons confirmed that one faculty member had recently tested positive and their students were notified last night. In a press release sent yesterday, Gribbons clarified that the faculty member in question — who worked in the Child Development Department — was found to be positive on March 22, after school had already been closed for nearly two weeks, and is recovering in the hospital.
“We wanted to share this information with you as quickly as possible for your protection and will continue to keep you informed of any other developments,” Gribbons wrote in the press release. “We are in the process of notifying other students who may have had direct contact with the faculty member during that time. In addition, we will ensure all spaces in [the Child Development and Family Complex] have been cleaned and sanitized. Note that most of CDFC has already been sanitized.”
Gribbons stated that student workers will continue to get paid for the past two weeks, though the procedures and details are still being worked out. In addition, the Helping Hands pantry will remain closed, as the school is currently unable to receive any deliveries of food.
Late start classes (which also include an EW option) will still begin in April, and the semester will end in June as planned — except for classes that require face-to-face contact. If the campus reopens before the end of the semester, class sizes will not be reduced.
Gribbons concluded the meeting by telling viewers he will send out an email for the next Town Hall meeting and he will gather the questions asked during this meeting to make an FAQ for students.
“Again, I appreciate your resiliency and we’ll do our very best to support you in these times,” Gribbons said.
To view the full Town Hall meeting video, visit Valley’s YouTube account. For more information on early withdrawals or to keep up to date on messages from the president and about the coronavirus, go to the school’s news blog.