Board discusses possible campus closure, move to online instruction

Board+discusses+possible+campus+closure%2C+move+to+online+instruction

Lucy Marx, News Editor

The Board of Trustees discussed how to navigate online classes and possible campus closure due to the coronavirus pandemic at its meeting Thursday. 

This meeting comes at a time when colleges across the country are closing and moving online to fight the spread of the coronavirus, and City College faculty, staff and administration have been  working to make any change to instruction as seamless as possible. 

“I have no idea what’s gonna happen,” said Superintendent-President Utpal Goswami. “My focus is basically two weeks in advance because that’s where we can have control.” 

The board heard a presentation from Academic Senate President Patricia Stark, who went over the actions and plans of faculty and staff as the virus spreads. 

“How can I describe this week to you?” asked Stark. “I can’t find exactly the words.”

Stark overviewed the ways the college is preparing for a possible campus closure, from moving classes online to distributing chromebooks to providing professors with extra resources to make the switch easier for all involved. 

She also brought up how difficult it would be for labs and P.E. classes to transition to online instruction, as they rely heavily on face-to-face interaction.

“Our students are here… they are on the path to somewhere else,” she said. “Giving up and cancelling classes—it just can’t be an option for us.”

The college will remain open until it is ordered to close by the Santa Barbara Department of Public Health, or if Goswami sees fit. 

“SBCC will not close any of our campus unless directed by the county health department,” said Director of Communication Luz Reyes-Martin. 

Additionally, as large gatherings have been restricted in the state of California, the board has reached out to the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department with questions regarding how these restrictions will apply to open meetings in compliance with the Brown Act. 

The board also announced the 2020 honorees for the Administrator of the Year award at its meeting, and presented the award to Adolfo Corral, former Director of Equity and Cultural Competency.

Corral’s family accepted the award in his honor.

Honorable mentions for the award were Director of Communications Luz Reyes-Martin, Director of Athletics Rocco Constantino and Dean Priscilla Mora.

The board also revisited a call to climate change action that was proposed at its Feb. 13 meeting, and the board voted 5-2 to declare a climate emergency, with Trustees Veronica Gallardo and Craig Nielson opposing.

A proposal by Trustee Marsha Croninger at the Feb. 13 meeting to limit campaign contributions to $6,000 in total was tabled until the next board meeting to provide more time for the board to consult with an attorney. 

The board will reconvene at its April 9 meeting.