Challenges Expected Due to COVID-19



In this photo illustration of the Coronavirus COVID-19 show a Global map monitoring of the learners affected by school closures, Mar. 12.

Over the weekend, Stanford took a stand against the coronavirus and sent out the news of cancelling in-person instruction, thus moving classes online. Schools facing this crisis so close in proximity to Stanford had quickly followed by example Monday evening: UC San Diego, San Jose State University, San Francisco State, and Santa Clara University.


SMCCCD sent out an email Wednesday afternoon announcing that they too would be cancelling in-person classes, with proper online instruction beginning Monday, March 17, due to the recent COVID-19 outbreak. In just a few short days, this transition has impacted the forecast of the semester for more than 100 California schools.


In a way, the college and higher education system has an advantage over K-12 cases, for which moving classes to an online format out of necessity might be seen as counterproductive for the sensory growth of young students. The degree to which faculty and students are equipped for virtual instruction will be tested for both students and teachers in the coming weeks, as these schools have never experimented with such remote classrooms, especially for classes where students are required to be present.


With the state chancellor having permitted online classes for community colleges this morning, it was also announced that schools can take actions as they see fit. Many schools have already spread hygiene awareness through posters to prevent the spread of germs around campus, accompanied by mass emails and texts to update the staff and students on new information regarding the virus.


It’s a challenging period for everyone, with the number of cases of COVID-19 rapidly rising in unexpected areas, and the immediate action necessary to mitigate the crisis. In Skyline college, many resources have been kept available in the coming weeks, as well as during spring break: The library and learning center will be open, as well as the DREAM Center, the meditation room, and the food pantry. Please ask your adviser about any other accommodations they can provide on campus during this period.


Masao Suzuki, an economics professor here at Skyline, will be conducting his class online for the first time in his 20-year career, and he may very well not be the only one. Although teaching online may be a challenge to adjust to in the next five days, Suzuki is afraid the COVID-19 outbreak may be worse than expected, and should be taken rather seriously.


“I hope colleges expecting transfer students next year that are affected during this close, will be flexible with admissions,” Suzuki said. “We don’t yet know how it will affect the students, but it’s unlike anything we’ve prepared for.”


Students in the study abroad program in Florence, Italy have recently been sent home due to the rising pandemic. In some cases, athletes preparing for competitions, family trips, and further plans have had to cancel during spring break and weekends leading up to the outbreak.


“Because so few people on my team were willing to go to Pasadena, our competition during Spring Break was cancelled,” Adele Wu, a badminton player, said. “Even my parents have warned me not to leave, so I’m spending the next few weeks at home.”


The community has shared mixed reactions. Some are still committed to their plans during spring break — flying out to places like Detroit, San Diego, and even Sydney!


“The coronavirus doesn’t scare me. I still want to travel, and I won’t let a scare like this get in the way of that,” said Kash Nair, who has traveled to Australia to see family and friends during this time every year. “I know some airlines are laying people off. Delta, for example, has taken a huge hit, but flights are really cheap right now.”


If it’s a question of whether you should risk leaving before things get worse, or refrain from doing so because of the risk of a mandatory two-week quarantine as soon as you land. Right now, it depends where you fly, but with the closures of California schools, it is likely that measures will have us further contained, perhaps following Italy’s example.


There is no telling what will happen, and that seems to be the talk lately, but it’s best to be aware of the necessary precautions and keep yourself prepared. Airlines are being flexible with flight cancellations pertaining to Italy, South Korea, Hong Kong, China, Singapore, and Madrid, and in regards to specific ticket purchase dates. The US has not taken any action relating to flights departing or arriving in the states with the most cases of COVID-19, such as New York, Washington, and California.