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As California hit its highest daily count of confirmed cases of coronavirus over the past week and numbers continue to rise in Kern, Mono, and Inyo counties, Cerro Coso Community College announced Thursday, July 16, it will move on-ground classes to remote delivery for the fall 2020 term.

"Because the safety of every student, staff, and faculty member is Cerro Coso Community College's highest priority, the college has made the difficult decision to suspend in-person instruction at all campus locations for the fall 2020 semester," stated Dr. Corey Marvin, Vice President of Instruction at Cerro Coso.

All currently scheduled in-person classes will be transitioned into remote delivery with the exception of a small number of classes supporting essential workforce activities.

Students that signed-up to take on-ground classes were encouraged to visit the COVIC-19 Course Status page on the college website to check the status and delivery mode for their classes.

Consistent with state guidelines and in support of critical infrastructure sectors, the college is continuing to offer in-person instruction in essential workforce activities. These are selected classes in administration of justice, emergency medical technology, health careers, machine tools and welding, only. While a portion of these classes may be delivered in some form of remote instruction, the nature of the coursework requires hands-on training that must take place in person. "Please know that Cerro Coso will be abiding by all protocols for offering these classes safely: required facemasks, physical distancing, limited sharing of equipment, regular deep cleaning, among others," said Marvin. Students in these classes will be required to play an active role in maintaining a healthy environment, such as wearing a facemask and not coming to class if sick. If a student cannot abide by those requirements, they are encouraged to contact the counseling department to enroll in a different class that keeps them on track to meet their educational goal.

Some classes will be moved to a Scheduled Zoom format. These classes will meet virtually during the same days and times already scheduled so that students can directly interact with the instructor to hear lectures, ask questions, engage in discussions, practice skills and carry on many of the same classroom activities they are used to in in-person classes, except in a remote environment. Although the Scheduled Zoom class will be supported with an online Canvas shell, students must make time to attend all live Zoom class sessions, as this is when instruction happens in the class. Students requiring assistance with technology resources are encouraged to email [email protected] for assistance.

Online are very likely the classes most people think of when they think of "online instruction": maximally flexible, instruction happening on a week by week or unit by unit basis but at the time of the student's choosing. There are no required meeting times, either in person or virtually. Coursework is posted to and accessed through a Canvas shell that includes all the class elements: lecture, exercises, assignments, assessments. Regular effective contact is built into the class between instructor and student and among students through such features as discussion forums and journal entries. And some instructors may still use Zoom to provide opportunities to work with them. If an in-person class is being transitioned to Online and a student is not sure it is the right learning modality for them, please contact CC-Online to schedule an assessment and access additional resources.

"In any of these cases, if a student feels that they would now like to move to a different section or add or remove a class, please contact the counseling department to explore their options. Our greatest desire is that students keep making progress toward their educational goal. Talking to a counselor or an educational advisor will help them avoid being derailed by the coronavirus and find class offerings that are a good fit so they can be successful in achieving their desired outcome," continued Marvin.

"This decision to transition to mostly remote instruction is meant to provide clear direction for fall class offerings. But we recognize this is a stressful time across the board. Student resource guides are available and integrated into Navigate. The guides include resources ranging from mental health to unemployment and financial help. Also, resources such as technology help, including emergency laptop loans, and grocery/toiletry assistance are available. If a student has a need and would like to request assistance, please contact [email protected]."

Recognizing that students may have many questions about classes, delivery methods, student services like financial aid and ACCESS programs, learning support services like library, tutoring, and proctoring, the college is planning two student Q and A sessions via Zoom during the week of July 20.

"It is truly unfortunate that Cerro Coso cannot serve all of its in-person students in the way it had planned for the fall 2020 semester," concluded Marvin. "But our dedicated faculty and staff look forward to introducing students to some remarkable learning experiences through remote delivery while keeping our students, our staff, our faculty, and our communities as safe and healthy as possible in these uncertain times."