The LACCD Board unanimously decided to suspend all classes Monday, March 16, through Sunday, March 29, as well as moving up spring break, which was originally scheduled for April 6-11 to run Monday, March 23 through Sunday, March 29. Remote learning (online education) and remote business operations will begin on Monday, March 30, and run through the end of the spring semester.
The board met in an emergency meeting Saturday afternoon to address concerns of the district and to plan for what comes next for students and the classes that won’t have an easy transition to an online format in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“What we are hoping is to make sure that everyone working, from students, faculty, and the staff, feels safe and that we are doing everything related to their safety and their education, as well as the families of everyone,” said board of trustees member Dr. Gabriel Buelna.
The board also moved to suspend in-person services at all of the colleges, March 16-28.
Campuses will begin remote learning and remote business operations as of March 30, providing a two week transition period to remote instruction for all disciplines and student services.
President of the District Academic Senate Angela Echeverri expressed the goal is to protect students’ academic progress as much as possible because they don’t want student’s semesters to be lost during this national state of emergency.
“I think the first priority is safety. We are concerned about instructional continuity and services, but number one is safety,” Echeverri said. “Things have changed so quickly, especially within the last 24 hours that we are in a whole new paradigm. So we need time to transition while being able to provide the education and services that students deserve and need.”
Student Health Centers and Child Development Centers in the district will remain open through next week to allow parents enough time to make childcare arrangements, but they will be closed during the week of Spring Break.
Union steward Bruce Hicks, who was one of the public commentators, voiced that LAUSD closing its doors is also weighing on the faculty and staff of the district that double up as parents.
“Our main concern as a unit is that the health and safety of our people is taken into account,” Hicks said. “It is prime time for all of us, no one has all the answers, but we want to make sure all our concerns are addressed, especially with LAUSD closing down because that puts a very large burden on our group.”
Chancellor Francisco Rodriguez mentioned in the meeting that so far, there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 virus at any of the nine colleges in the LACCD district.
Public affairs manager for SEIU Local 99, Manuel Rangel, who also commented during the public forum, bringing a voice to the custodial and maintenance staff of the district and their willingness to step up during this crisis, but also wanting to stay informed.
“They are on the front line, and they are ready to rise to the occasion,” Rangel said. “They want to help make sure campuses are sanitary as well as making sure that they are limiting the spread of any communicable disease, but they want to make sure that they are constantly in the loop of information as this unfolds.”
The Chancellor made note that the situation is fluid and changes will be made daily, and he will be updating district employees with a steady stream of information as we as a country learn more about the virus.
“I hope over the next few weeks we continue to serve the best interests of our students, faculty, staff and the entire L.A. community,” said Pierce College president Alexis Montevirgen.