Due to the ongoing threat posed by COVID-19, Imperial Valley College will start the 2020-2021 school year focusing on distance learning and online services to students, a college spokesperson confirmed.
“Imperial Valley College will remain mostly online for fall 2020,” college public information officer Elizabeth Espinoza told the Calexico Chronicle in a May 12 email.
“We will continue to provide distance education and services remotely to students while mostly online for fall 2020,” Espinoza reiterated.
She said IVC administrators have been closely monitoring “scientific data” and COVID-19 guidelines in making their decision.
“The health and safety of our students and employees is our upmost priority. In reviewing scientific data, trends and public health guidance it was determined that is best to continue offer most of courses and services virtually. I express gratitude to the IVC employees and students because during this difficult time, the spirit of collaboration and compassion has been evident,” IVC Superintendent and President Martha Garcia stated in a May 13 email to the Calexico Chronicle.
“IVC’s campus community has demonstrated remarkable courage, patience and strength while ensuring students make academic progress and receive supportive services. Imperial Valley College is committed to student success and to contribute to the recovery of our local economy through education,” Garcia continued.
There are programs/courses such as: the Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) Academy, Nursing, Industrial Technology and some science labs that may not be able to convert online, Garcia stated in the email. The goal of IVC is to offer these courses/programs face-to-face and adhere to social-distancing measures, she added.
A “four-phased plan is currently under development and will be shared with campus constituencies under our shared governance process in late May and will then be presented to the IVC Board of Trustees on June 17, 2020,” Espinoza stated in her email.
Meanwhile, San Diego State University-Imperial Valley campus officials informed the Chronicle that Calexico campus Dean Gregorio Ponce would not be speaking with the newspaper on reports that SDSU would also remain closed and mostly online to start the 2020-2021 school year.
SDSU main campus public information officials did not immediately return inquiries into the status of the Calexico campus.
Still, in a May 12 story posted to the SDSU News Center, university President Adela de la Torre announced the university would offer the majority of fall 2020 courses “via virtual means, following updated guidance and direction from the California State University system and respecting existing and projected public health orders,” according to a press release.
“After thorough and careful assessment and feedback from faculty and staff who have shared their expertise, and following this directive from the CSU, our campus community will launch SDSU Flex,” de la Torre stated in the release.
The SDSU Flex model will reportedly offer maximum opportunities for students to remain fully engaged with faculty, staff, peers and SDSU alumni, de la Torre stated.
“It also provides flexibility to our faculty, reducing the number of courses that may be needed to transition to fully virtual in the event of a second wave of the virus,” the president explained. “Our model will also provide extensive time for faculty to prepare and modify their courses for the fall, in ways that differ drastically from the emergency move this spring.”
The notice followed CSU Chancellor Timothy P. White’s announcement during the Board of Trustees meeting that all 23 campuses in the system will move forward with plans for virtual instruction, with some exceptions, for fall 2020, the release states.
“It would be irresponsible to wait until summer to plan for virtual learning across the curriculum,” White said during the board meeting. “It is wise to plan now and over the next several months for enriched training and virtual learning environments and to be able to pull back again in the fall as in-person circumstances might be further allowed. It would be irresponsible to approach it the other way around.”
Jayson Barniske contributed reporting to this story.