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Temporary return to in-person education

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Temporary return to in-person education
Alexandra Krotova operates a lathe during an in-person class session in Woodland Hills, Calif. on Aug. 29, 2020. Photo by Benjamin Hanson.

While much of Pierce has now officially transitioned online, some hard to convert classes remained on campus over the summer—with some minor restrictions.

Classes at Los Angeles Pierce College were approved by the LACCD Emergency Operations Center Safety Advisory, began on Aug. 3, and ended Aug. 30.

The LACCD Operations Center Safety Advisory approved on-campus instruction on July 27, 2020, to allow classes from the spring 2020 semester to finish before the fall semester.

Classes conducted on campus included Auto, C&C, Wielding, Animal Science and Nursing.

Team A and Team C of the COVID-19 response teams came up with regulations for students coming to campus to complete their classes.

Micheal Gend, Department Chair of Performing Arts, helped with academic continuity within Team C.

Gend said in a Zoom interview, how Team A coordinated changes on campus to keep faculty and students safe.

“They came up with a plan where each room only has one entrance and one exit,” Gend said. “So, there’d never be cross traffic between students.”

On campus, masks and gloves were provided to students who didn’t bring their own. When entering campus, the sheriff had a checklist of who would be entering Pierce.

In classrooms, desks are further apart to maintain social distancing.

Gend said, based on reports from campus, that things went smoothly.

In an interview on campus, Alexandra Krotora, an engineering major said Pierce was completely deserted due to the small number of classes.

“It’s pretty surreal honestly because it feels like it’s a prop for a movie with zombies or something,” Krotora said.

Ronald Smetzer, a professor at Pierce, conducted his labs in person before the fall semester.
His class ended on Mar. 12 and expressed concerns with finishing his lab work from the spring semester.

“This class is supposed to be a one-hour lecture and a five-hour lab… When we shut down, it was just devastating,” said Smetzer.

Faculty and students could enter campus under specific regulations provided by the LACCD Safety Advisory.

Regulations under the Los Angeles County Public Health Department required students and employees to fill out a self-symptom check before entering campus.

While on campus, students, faculty and teachers had to wear face coverings and maintain social distancing with others.

With the new regulations, Smetzer didn’t come across any complaints.

“Wearing the mask sometimes your safety glasses get fogged up, but they seem to be doing okay,” Smetzer said.