Desks sit unoccupied at Skyline College following news of class cancellations resulting from the Coronavirus outbreak. (Kevin Arias )
Desks sit unoccupied at Skyline College following news of class cancellations resulting from the Coronavirus outbreak.

Kevin Arias

Enough of the Foreplay

March 11, 2020

SMCCCD has officially cancelled in-person classes and have moved to an online-only format until April 5, but the decision to finally take action seemed too little too late. Faculty members at Skyline College received the news around 12 p.m., but students did not receive the news until a little more than an hour after that. Tuesday afternoon, SMCCCD sent a mass email to all faculty and students that addressed the topic of COVID-19 at the very end of the email. Students did not receive the answer most people were expecting. The district’s COVID-19 Task Force notified recipients of the following: No more nonessential gatherings, suspension of traveling, and, at the very end of the email, that “all campus and district offices are open” and that there are “currently no plans to close offices.”

The final sentences may have left some stunned. On March 9th, schools all over the Bay Area had already begun to shut down and transition into online classes. Colleges less than 10 miles away from Skyline like San Francisco State and City College of San Francisco have suspended in-person classes until, at the very latest, April 5. At Skyline, several teachers have pushed back their curriculum to discuss the implications of having class online. Over the past few weeks, students have lived in a state of constant worry. The necessity of trying to be careful about what they touch, washing hands, and covering mouths when sneezing is always in their minds. Slowly, less and less students come to class, and those who do come wear masks more and more commonly. The majority of students have social media, and see the number of COVID-19 patients worldwide rising every day. Coming to school with so many questions left unanswered can add a lot of stress to everyone’s lives. Simply adding an information page on Canvas and the front of Skyline’s website does not suffice to ease the stress.

In the aforementioned email, SMCCCD advises the students to stay at least six feet from each other. Although the seating arrangement in classrooms tend to make that impossible, students are trying their best.

A simple update about how Skyline College should be aware of the possibility of having classes going online can really help with the idea running through their heads.

As for us on the Skyline View staff, we have lost our chance to travel to Burbank, CA for the Journalism Association of Community Colleges conference — something something many of our members have been excited about all semester, for the opportunity to learn with fellow community college students and professionals in the journalism world. The fact that we received this unfortunate news before even knowing whether or not in-person classes were going to be cancelled strikes us as unfair. Epidemics like COVID-19 need to be treated as the serious matters they are, and the Board of Trustees, college presidents, and other district leaders should have kept the students informed sooner than they did.

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