Pierce College’s COVID-19 response teams continue to adjust to the new normal

The four COVID-19 response teams discussed campus-wide sanitation and student accessibility toward student services in an online Zoom meeting April 1.

Vice President of Administrative Services Rolf Schleicher took a moment to focus on some of the district and college news at large.

“It was just announced today that Kroger, Ralphs and Food 4 Less, are donating $150,000 worth of gift cards to our students,” Schleicher said. “Each student will be eligible for a $50 gift card. Everything helps and hopefully, those will go out within a short time frame.”

Schleicher mentioned that 8,000 students in the Los Angeles Community College District have put in requests through the District scholarship to receive laptops.

According to Mark Henderson, Valley College received 31 Lenovo laptops and Pierce received 15.

“Every day we’re asking for more equipment,” Schleicher said. “I want to make sure we’re getting as many as the other colleges. I know the district is pushing hard to not only get more cleaning equipment, but also more access equipment.”

Director of the Student Health Center Beth Benne began Team A’s update by expressing the difficulties the Student Health Center has been having while transitioning towards online consultations with students.

“We are really struggling with all kinds of issues providing medical and mental health services,” Benne said. “Some of the data we’re trying to gather [from students], whether it be consents, an intake form for mental health counseling or health history for a medical consultation, we don’t know where these documents are going to live.”

Benne offered up a solution to use the student portals that the Health Center’s medical systems use.

“Everything we do online has to get put into our medical records,” Benne said. “I believe the student portal is the bridge to that, but I don’t know how to go about doing that.”

Operations Manager Rodney Allen said that buildings continue to be disinfected about two to three times a day and that all custodians will receive training online.

“We have one that’s set up through the District with American First Responders and it’s through the National Safety Council for Blood Borne and Airborne Pathogens,” Allen said.

Pierce College Deputy Nick Saldivar said despite putting up snow fencing around pedestrian entrances and driveways with a sign that says access to campus is restricted, the deputies are having a difficult time keeping people off campus.

Saldivar said people have even cut the fence to get on campus and that it now needs to be repaired.

“We still have people ignoring the signs,” Saldivar said. “This weekend, we saw around 50 people attempting to come on campus, and we just discouraged them. As this continues, we anticipate it being harder to keep people off.”

Associate Vice President Bruce Rosky from Team B said the campus mailroom operations may change in an effort to practice social distancing and limit face-to-face contact. He proposed giving departments scheduled time frames for picking up and dropping off mail.

Vice President of Academic Affairs Sheri Berger from Team C said there are 450 Canvas courses shells with embedded tutors and a general shell for each discipline.

To be added to the general discipline shells, instructors can add students through their student I.D. number or email address. Students can also go into the Center for Academic Success (CAS) website to enroll into these tutoring shells.

Tutoring through NetTutor is also available 24/7 for students.

Berger also announced that a Summer Bridge Program task force will be created to plan for the next class of incoming first-year students.

“The intention is to help students transition into college and the current model was created for a face-to-face setting,” Berger said. “We need to rethink what that will look like in an online model to help students transition from high school into college if we’re going to be online during the summer.”

Dean of Student Engagement Juan Astorga from Team D said student services such as financial aid, admissions and counseling will be conducted through Cranium Cafe.

“That’s really going to be the centerpiece for how we’re going to be doing service delivery for students and getting as much consistent information as possible,” Astorga said.

Pierce College President Alexis Montevirgen concluded the meeting by saying the preparation from the COVID-19 response teams have helped resume instruction online.

“I am very pleased and very proud of how this team has come together in trying to make sure that we’re addressing as many things as possible, and that we continue to do so as things continue to come up,” Montevirgen said.