Campus closure causes a scramble

Dale Satre, @DaleSatre

The automated texts started Thursday, Nov. 15: “CCCCD [Contra Costa Community College District] has decided to close all locations … effective 3:00 p.m. today and will reopen Monday, November 19, 2018.”

The following texts brought similar messages: classes were pushed to Tuesday, Nov. 20, then pushed to the next week on Monday, Nov. 26.

This started a scramble among students and teachers to find ways to deal with what would become over a week of missed classes, due to poor air quality and the Thanksgiving holiday. According to a press release by CCCCD spokesperson Timothy Leong, the district decided to be cautious with fluctuating reports of local air quality.

“It threw me way back,” remarked administration of justice professor Anthony Hailey. “I couldn’t access my office. Everything I needed to grade didn’t get graded. I had no warning I’d be set back so much.”

Professors were encouraged to offer course work online to maintain credit hours for their courses. Business professor Perry Wilkins said the closure encouraged her to try new ways of distance teaching.

“The closure created an avenue to be more innovative about getting content to people, such as getting material online. I sent out lectures over Canvas and held exams online that people did at home ,” Wilkins said. “If it came to it, I could even hold live lectures over Zoom. The good thing about this is that it forced us to move to the twenty-first century.”

However, others are facing difficulty as the remaining two weeks of the semester loom. Economics professor Shalini Lugani said that many faculty are now in a bind as they try to figure out how to make up for lost time in a semester already trimmed to the legal minimum.

“This is going to have to be a multi-pronged approach.There’s going to have to be more take-home work and quizzes,” she said. “I’m planning to try the flipped classroom… We’ll have to condense discussions on big topics. We’re trying to be fair to students without piling on more work.”On the student side of things, the effects of the shortened semester and campus closures have been a mixed bag.

For LMC student Odochi Nwokochah exams have been her greatest concern.

“On the negative side, my classes had to reschedule tests that I had already studied for. Now that we’re back, I’m not as ready at this time,” said Nwokochah. “On the positive side, one class had to restructure everything with a take-home quiz and give more points to our final presentation.

For other students like Natalie Yashimoto the lack of time has caused much undue stress.

“The closing definitely made it more hectic,” she said. “I and other students are not sure where we are in our classes. There hasn’t been much communication about where we go from here.”

According to an email sent out by Vice President Kevin Horan 60 sections have been “negatively impacted” by the campus closure. To ensure classes meet the state mandated credit hours professors have a variety of options. Professors can provide online instruction, extend class time, or add an additional class meeting.

If your section has been affected by the closures, consult with your professor for more information.