Message #3 from the Chancellor
March 12, 2020
Today has been marked by fast-moving developments in response to the coronavirus. Consequently, I am writing to provide an update regarding our collaborative efforts to continue serving our students, protecting the health of our employees, and meeting the needs of our community in these challenging times.
Vice President of Academic Affairs Joe Gerda shared in his earlier email that we are starting to move in-person spring semester classes to remote learning formats. Ultimately, we expect a vast majority of classes will continue in that format until further notice. These efforts are consistent with direction from public health officials.
To help facilitate the transition, and give faculty the opportunity to participate in training for remote learning systems, no classes will be held on Wednesday and Thursday, March 18 and 19. This will help to ensure continued high-quality instruction.
In-person classes will be held as scheduled on Monday and Tuesday, March 16 and 17. Doing so will enable faculty members to meet with students and help them prepare for the transition before the majority of classes move to remote learning.
Nearly 30 percent of the college’s classes are already offered in online/hybrid formats. Most of the remaining classes will be moved to remote learning as quickly as possible while instructors complete necessary training in alternative delivery of instruction, and prepare learning materials and tests for remote delivery. Depending on the discipline and subject matter, the remote format chosen by instructors may take multiple forms, including use of Zoom for web and conference calls, the Canvas online learning management system, and email.
Lab courses, career education, and performing arts are being evaluated to determine whether they can be delivered effectively in a remote learning format. Some may continue to be offered in a face-to-face format with modifications to accommodate social distancing recommendations.
All Student Services departments will be closed to the public on Wednesday and Thursday, March 18 and 19. This pause in service will give counselors and staff members time to work together and ensure they are ready to meet the increased demand for online services we are sure to see in the coming weeks.
What We’re Doing for Students
We know our students will also need assistance in making a seamless transition to the remote learning format. To that end, the college is making plans to offer additional help. The Online Education website includes instructions on using a variety of remote learning tools. Students seeking in-person assistance can attend open labs that will be scheduled throughout the week. Details will be posted on the Online Education website. In addition, we are in the process of acquiring 500 more laptops that we can loan to students who do not have access to technology.
As mentioned earlier in the week, we have undertaken added cleaning measures across both campuses. Because Valencia and Canyon Country will remain open, the college will continue to utilize added cleaning measures. These measures include the continual deep cleaning of high-touch surfaces, such as door latches, light switches and elevator buttons. Restrooms will be disinfected using specialized steam cleaning equipment with a water/sanitizer mixture. The custodial operation is continuous, during regular and overtime hours.
We are in the process of reviewing upcoming public events to determine whether they should be held with modifications, postponed or canceled.
Confirmed postponements include the Silver Spur Celebration, as well as the Women’s Conference originally scheduled for March 21.
Athletics events are also being reviewed by college and league officials to determine whether they will be played as scheduled.
As far as standing committee meetings, those should continue, however each committee chair should evaluate the attendees available to attend and the delivery method to be used. As instruction moves toward remote access, so too will club meetings (if possible). Field trips and excursions are also being evaluated. We are developing plans to cancel or postpone most student events.
Travel on College Business
Effective immediately, all travel outside the district is frozen until further notice. If you have travel scheduled, and you believe it is urgent and essential, please work with your supervisor to discuss possible exceptions.
We will continue to provide updated information the college’s website (www.canyons.edu) and social media.
I recognize that we find ourselves in challenging and uncertain circumstances, and we have many questions about what’s next. I am confident, however, in our ability to work together in finding pro-active solutions that will enable our students to continue working toward achieving their goals.
Dr. Dianne G. Van Hook
Distributed March 12, 2020