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What to expect for fall semester

by Victoria Maneske

CI has enacted a unique plan for the fall 2020 semester to ensure the maximum safety requirements are met for students, faculty, and staff during the current pandemic. The plan has been thoroughly assembled by various programs and departments such as CI’s Environment, Health & Safety office, Facilities Services, Public Safety, Human Resources and Disability Accommodations & Support Services. Ventura County Public Health had also been in consistent contact with President Erika D. Beck and campus leadership to provide accurate safety guidelines. 

Nearly all courses have been transitioned to virtual instruction, some maintaining a virtual meeting schedule while others do not require specific times to be online. This information can be found on the weekly schedules in CI Records on each students CI portal. As stated in the Campus Plan Fall 2020 Semester, the campus courses will be primarily virtual except for those within the academic programs of art, biology/geology, chemistry, environmental science & resource management, nursing and performing arts.  

These program courses have been deemed essential to be delivered in-person by the Division of Academic Affairs. However, not all classes within these programs are meeting in person. Referring to appendix A in the Campus Plan Fall 2020 Semester is the best way to know which classes are meeting in-person.  

The in-person course offerings are approximately 5% of what the fall 2019 semester entailed. There is an estimate of 1,338 students that will be enrolled for in-person courses along with 56 faculty and 10 staff that will deliver in-person instruction. There will be around 50 to 75 rotating staff members on campus as well to provide support services for the students, utilizing the established safety protocols. 

The courses available on campus will have a limitation on their in-person days and will be managed on a schedule that adheres to social distancing requirements. As an extra precaution, each in-person instructor will have an alternate virtual option prepared for students. This is in case of a sudden necessity to transition to a fully virtual instruction or as an option for students who are unable or unwilling to be on campus.  

In terms of on-campus housing, Ventura County Public Health has guided CI’s plan to create a maximum capacity of 430 residential students, which is 28% of the residential students present during the fall 2019 semester. According to Dr. Richard Yao, Vice President for Student Affairs, some prioritization will be given to foster youth, homeless and housing-insecure applicants.  

It has also been established that all housing residents will each have a private bedroom and bathroom. In coordination with Ventura County Public Health, there will be screening protocols for residential students with a health screening questionnaire before move-in and a COVID-19 test upon arrival. The Housing & Residential Education webpage will provide updates for residential students.  

In conjunction with the decrease in student residency, CI plans to keep only one dining facility open and offer meal service to all the housing students. The Freudian Sip coffee shop at the John Spoor Broome Library has the possibility of remaining open as well. There will be space used to expand refrigeration, hold prepared hot meals and store grab-and-go options as all meals will be served to-go only.  

Some students have different opinions and concerns regarding the transition to virtual learning. Jade Werre, a senior English major, said, “I’m a bit concerned about the transition to a fully virtual semester. From my experiences in the past, discussion boards haven’t been fully sufficient as a substitute for me because there isn’t enough actual interaction. Zoom also has its negatives because in the last semester there frequently were audio issues, background noise, poor attendance or people unintentionally talking over each other.”  

The campus courses will be primarily virtual except for those within the academic programs of art, biology/geology, chemistry, environmental science & resource management, nursing and performing arts.  

Bri Zendejas, a senior English and political science major with an emphasis in education, expressed similar displeasure to the transition but held a more optimistic view. “I’ll do my best to remain positive heading into the fall 2020 term,” Zendejas stated. “I had, what I considered, very limited knowledge when it comes to technological/online learning prior to the spring 2020 transition, so at least an additional virtual team will provide the opportunity for me to extend my knowledge even further.”  

The Division of Student Affairs has created the Island Website to keep students engaged with the campus community. Also, the Broome Library will have laptops available for checkout and Wi-Fi hotspot access for any students that require the technology necessary for the new semester plan. CI plans to ensure that every student, faculty and staff member will be trained on COVID-19 prevention along with safety plans implemented for each specific program area. For more information, check out the new fall 2020 semester website at https://www.csuci.edu/news/campus-updates/fall-2020/

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