Now that spring is finally here, we all are confronted by profound changes to our world. As we are now constantly bombarded by news about the current situation, it is imperative that we look for stories about those who are working towards alleviating new problems and making the future brighter. Community colleges around the country are stepping up to do both by making positive changes in their communities and planning for how they will continue to serve them going into the future.
The coronavirus has shaken the world, leaving many higher education institutions worried as to what steps need to be taken. The CDC and the Department of Education are working on reworking policies and procedures to keep students healthy and help keep those affected in compliance with the federal financial aid policies.
In wake of the coronavirus pandemic, the College of the Canyons Foundation set up an emergency fund for their students. College of the Canyons recognizes that this pandemic not only impacts their education, but their work and financial security as well. This fund will support vulnerable students by providing them with grants and scholarships that will assist them in getting through this turbulent time.
With higher education courses shifting to primarily online, Palomar College distributed a total of 344 computers to support students with the new distance education orders. This was made possible by San Diego philanthropist Darlene Shiley and her partner, Computer2Kids.
With the rising number of patients testing positive for COVD-19, community colleges have been urged to donate any protective equipment from their health-related classes to the hospitals and healthcare facilities that are fighting this virus on the front lines. Several colleges, including Western Technical College, have already shown their support with donations.
With higher education transitioning to online courses and vacating campuses, many students who rely on higher education for their place of living, food, and other living necessities have been left without anywhere to go. In these times of uncertainty, sometimes all students need to move forward is a little bit of faith and support. Many schools across the country are finding ways to provide their students with any support they can. Even the smallest acts of support have given many students faith in their schools and what the future holds for them and their families.
The proposed California budget for 2020-2021 would add 11.4 million dollars so that all community colleges in California would be able to provide a food pantry for students. Woodland College is one of the many California community colleges that houses a food pantry that students can use twice a month regardless of income. An average of 60 students use the food pantry per month, which is bound to increase during this time of financial insecurity due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The pantry is a large asset on their campus and allows students to focus on work and education and not be concerned about where they are going to get their next meal.
As the number of California residents infected with COVID-19 continues to rise, hospitals are running out supplies to treat these patients and protect others as well as themselves. Upon local community colleges’ decision to move courses online, the Orange Coast College respiratory care program was more than happy to loan out their machines to local Saddleback Memorial Hospital.
With California’s initiative to increase its medical forces, Gov. Newsom calls on nursing and medical school students to join healthcare workers on the front lines. With this movement, the state will be able to access around 37,000 students or previous retired healthcare professionals. The nursing students at American River College were only six weeks from graduation when they heard the news and they are very enthusiastic about joining the fight against COVID-19.
The transition of community colleges moving classes from in-person to online has made a huge impact on the institutions and the students they serve. This change has forced colleges to shut their doors and offices and has left many students without resources they rely on to complete their education. Many colleges across the country are finding creative ways to aid students during this turbulent time, including opening up computer labs sparingly or providing safe areas with internet access. Colleges continue to look forward and prepare for how these changes will affect the fall semester.
Community colleges and universities across the nation have been postponing or cancelling spring 2020 commencement ceremonies due to the spread of COVID-19. Heartland Community College in Normal, Illinois decided to not cancel or postpone their ceremony, but take it to the virtual world. Students who were planned to participate in the ceremony have the opportunity to submit pictures for inclusion in the virtual ceremony and will also receive a “commencement box” that will include graduation staples such as a tassel, a commencement program, a mortar board, and celebratory items provided by local businesses. Learn more details about Heartland’s virtual ceremony now.