District extends remote instruction for rest of semester

All classes will remain online for the remainder of the academic year, district officials announced Friday. The decision comes after a survey showed more than 80 percent of faculty would be able to continue providing temporary remote instruction, which started on March 18 and was supposed to end April 24.

“Of course, no one knows exactly when Gov. Newsom’s stay-at-home order will be lifted and when it will be safe to return to our normal activities,” Rancho Santiago Community College District Chancellor Marvin Martinez wrote in an email announcing the decision. “What we do know, however, is that based on our student and faculty surveys, the majority feel that temporary remote instruction is working. This does not mean it is working perfectly in all areas.

We are reviewing and discussing the recommendations and concerns that our students and faculty voiced in the surveys and will continue to work towards making improvements every day.”

Martinez first confirmed the news in a live chat with el Don editors Thursday, saying that Newsom’s statewide expectation that students would not be sent back to campus this semester applied to Santa Ana College and Santiago Canyon College.

The district is still deciding whether or not to only offer summer classes online, but Martinez said he would prefer it. 

“What I don’t want to do is start a semester or summer session through remote instruction and in the middle change it,” Martinez said. “Don’t want to do that. It will cause confusion and chaos.”

Martinez also added that in-person commencement ceremonies may also be canceled, if the governor’s health order is not lifted in time.

“[The governor of California] anticipates us having a stay-at-home order definitely into June; it could go until the end of the summer,” he said. “The colleges are looking at virtual remote technologies that they could, somehow, conduct graduation.”

Here’s what else we learned from our live stream with Chancellor Martinez on Thursday, April 2: 

No decision from the district to switch classes to pass or fail grading

“We haven’t gone into a lot of detail. I’m sure that we will. That’s usually a decision I leave to our faculty and our faculty senates. So I’m sure we’ll hear from them. But at this point, I have nothing to report because there are no decisions that have been made about this.”

Student-workers will continue to be paid through the end of the semester 

“We have a number of student-workers that are paid by the campuses, and I have asked the campuses to continue paying those students until the end of the semester. I don’t want to stop that because many students depend upon that check upon that money to pay for their basic needs. We don’t want to make any assumptions. We want to know we can help. Again, I want to let all those students out there, all the student-workers, to let them know don’t worry about being laid off by the colleges. The colleges will continue to support you.” 

Santiago Canyon College Hawk’s Pantry had about 130 cars drive through this morning

“Today, I was made aware by the president of Santiago Canyon College, and they had the food pantry, it was open today, they were giving food to students. They served students in almost a drive-through setting.  They served 130 cars in one hour. So obviously the need is there. The demand is there.”

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