After UCSB moved classes online for the rest of the semester earlier this week, Westmont College announced it would follow suite in a letter to students Thursday, while SBCC announced it will cancel public events and gatherings through mid April.
Beginning Monday, March 16, Westmont will move to remote instruction through Monday, April 13.
This temporary shift to remote instruction will not change the academic calendar. Final exams, the start and end dates semester, and commencement will remain the same.
In the letter written by President Gayle D. Beebe, Vice President for Student Life Edee Schulze, Provost Mark Sargent, and others, leadership said they will also restrict access to communal and residential living spaces and cancel all college events through April 13.
The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics has canceled all winter national championship events.
Students received directions from Student Life on Thursday about how they can retrieve their belongings or request permission to reside in campus housing.
Because each group – students, faculty and staff – have specific needs requiring detailed messages, Westmont asks that the community check their Westmont email concerning specific, individual protocols with detailed information.
“Our students, faculty and staff will receive detailed plans on what this means for them and what to expect as we shift to this mode of operation until we receive further guidance from health officials and federal agencies. All offices will remain open, and staff should report to work as scheduled. The college is taking additional measures to clean and sanitize all public spaces and areas,” read the letter.
The Westmont website will contain general, campus-wide updates, and posts will occur daily at 9 a.m., noon, 3 p.m. and 6 p.m.
In a note to students and faculty, SBCC said, effective immediately, all non-essential public gatherings and events are cancelled through April 15. The timeline may be extended as circumstances warrant.
Canceled public gatherings and events include, but not limited to:
- All Student Club Events
- Campus Tours
- Public Dance Performances
- Public Theatre Production Performances
- Public Music Performances
- Group Programming in the Center for Equity and Social Justice
- Group Programming in the UMOJA Center
- Group Programming in the STEM/MESA Center
- Group Programming in the Learning Resource Center
- Group Programming in the Career Center
- Group Programming in the WELL
- Vaquero Access Days
- Edible Book Festival
- Surf Fest and Swap Meet
- Science Discovery Day
- Send Silence Packing Event
- New Tenured Faculty Reception
- All other external Special Events
Late Thursday night, SBCC announced that its athletic events had been suspended indefinitely, as well.
Work-related activities, such as committees and department-level meetings, will continue as planned unless otherwise directed.
While SBCC did announce that they are suspending public gatherings and events through April 15, the school has not officially canceled classes or moved into remote instruction (other than classes already approved for online instruction) as of Thursday night.
However plans are in the works that will be announced today regarding online courses.
Earlier in the day Thursday, SBCC President Utpal K. Goswami sent out a note saying all SBCC operations and classes are continuing normally, no classes have been canceled, and all other SBCC operations are open, with normal business hours. SBCC will not close campuses unless directed to do so by the County Public Health Department, said Mr. Goswami.
“I also want you to realize that the easiest decision for me is to close campus and hoping that we can move some classes online,” wrote Mr. Goswami.
“I also know that if we were to do that it would have placed many, perhaps, the majority of students, in a situation where they will not be able to receive credit for the semester. We can award credit if we can get students to about 80% of the prescribed total student work. Thus, I have made the difficult decision to stay open as long as possible to get students to that juncture. Going forward, I am prepared to close campus if the risk to the safety of students and employees is elevated depending on what is happening around us.”
While SBCC is reluctant to cancel classes, it is taking steps to reduce the volume of individuals gathered on campus and working on moving as many classes online as possible.
Credit courses that are already approved to be moved online have begun transitioning to an online format effective Thursday while SBCC looks at all other courses as they are being worked on to move online. Not all classes will be able to be offered online.
Students will receive communication from their instructors with further directions if there is a need to move additional classes online. In addition, planning is underway to keep other services open (email regarding direct deposit and such).
SBCC has also been preparing telecommuting plans to allow employees to work from home where feasible.