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Coronavirus forces all classes online

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Jocelyn Arceo
Managing Editor
Alondra Campos
Staff Writer

In response to the corona virus, the University of La Verne will transition all classes to online only effective Monday through April 12, according to a campus-wide email sent out Wednesday.

The athletic department also announced the cancellation of all spring sports.

Although the University has not received any reports of the coronavirus on campus, faculty have been instructed to transition their classes online through Blackboard and WebEx, or similar online programs, including those at the regional campuses, graduate programs and College of Law.

Resident students are being encouraged to return home; however, housing and dining operations will remain open for those who need to stay on campus.

All campus events planned through April 12 will be postponed, moved online or rescheduled, according to the email.

Any University sponsored travel will be canceled through April 12 unless approved.

Campus Safety has urged anyone who plans on personally traveling domestically or internationally during spring break to review the travel guidelines offered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Campus Safety has also added the CDC as a card on the LiveSafe application, which will keep up-to-date information readily available to those who have the LiveSafe can be downloaded.

Juan Regalado, dean of students, urged students to communicate with their professors any concerns they may have about transitioning to online-only during a Faculty Assembly meeting Wednesday.

During the meeting Provost Jonathan Reed presented to the faculty a coronavirus update relating to moving classes online.

By Friday all faculty are required to “communicate with students via Blackboard on the possible move to online, put syllabus/course calendar on Blackboard and develop a trial assignment delivered on Blackboard,” according to the slides presented.

As the World Health Organization confirmed the coronavirus as a pandemic on Wednesday amid the 1,240 confirmed cases in the United States, and 197 confirmed cases in California, numerous colleges began preparation in the case of a possible outbreak within their own communities.

The University has implemented two committees: the Novel Coronavirus Monitoring Committee, which is monitoring the pandemic in coordination with local health departments, and the Academic Affairs Coronavirus Committee, which is overseeing all student academics, travel and online instruction, according to the University’s coronavirus webpage.

The Monitoring Committee is made up of several administrators from areas such as the Student Health Center, Campus Safety and Risk Management among others.

The Academic Affairs Committee consists of those from the Center for Teaching and Learning, the Office of Information and Technology and academic deans among others.

Both committees include the Provost’s Office and the Dean of Students.

“We started meeting early January when it seemed to be more low-level, and generally we’ve been ramping up the meetings and communications as we’ve seen things evolve,” Regalado said. “The thing with this is that it is fluid. I made a presentation this morning and post presentation there was already additional news and information to add to it.”

The committees continuously meet throughout the week to discuss updates on the virus and what action needs to be taken by the University moving forward, which involves constant communication and engagement with Los Angeles County Public Health and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

The University website, laverne.edu/health/coronavirus, is routinely updated with new information as it is being received, with the date of the last update at the top of the screen.

On Monday Campus Safety sent a campus wide email addressing travel concerns as spring break approaches next week.

Taking the precautions provided by the CDC, students, faculty and staff who travel over the break need to be aware of possible mandatory health screenings, flight cancellations and isolation requirements.

Across campus, the University is urging everyone to take precautionary action regarding their own personal hygiene.

Various announcements have been placed throughout the campus with “Cover Your Cough” information as well as hand sanitizers provided in various high-traffic areas, such as the main desks of each dorm building, classrooms, restrooms and offices.

The University is stressing five key points to the campus community: stay informed, practice good hygiene, follow travel guidelines, be mindful of discrimination and remain calm.

“This information is important,” Regalado said. “Stay informed, practice good hygiene, follow travel guidelines and be aware of bias. Those are the key points that would need to be stressed.”

Remaining calm amid such growing panic that seems to be changing course every hour is crucial, as much of the fear surrounding the virus has been both created and worsened by us, said Sharon Davis, professor of sociology.

“The coronavirus has a death rate between one and three percent depending on the organization you’re taking the statistics from. The common flu has a death rate between 1% and 2%,” Davis said. “We have a 1% difference in death rate, which of course we don’t want to be in that percent, but we do have to keep it in perspective.”

It is also important to remain aware of biases, prejudice and stereotyping with this pandemic.

Davis said she had a student in her criminology class this week describe the discriminatory actions his Asian American friends are facing, as people will avoid and refuse to get near due to stereotyping.

The first cases of the coronavirus were diagnosed in China.

“People are making generalizations and using stereotypes to justify prejudice and discrimination,” Davis said. “I think we’re going to look back at this and feel a certain amount of humiliation and embarrassment, that with just a little fear some of us were goaded into doing these things.”

Jocelyn Arceo can be reached at jocelyn.arceo@laverne.edu.

Alondra Campos can be reached at alondra.campos@laverne.edu.

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