Community Colleges Chancellor updates students on COVID-19 changes

Adeli Arvizu, Reporter

California Community Colleges Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley held a meeting via Zoom for student journalists on April 14 to discuss school updates and answer pending questions. 

Alongside the chancellor was Director of Communications Paige Marlatt and Executive Vice Chancellor Marty Alvarado.

Oakley briefly welcomed viewers and expressed gratitude toward all the community college newspaper and radio outlets that have been continuously providing content and information to their schools throughout the pandemic. 

“We know that the transition wasn’t as easy […] colleges are doing everything they can to support students in any way possible to help make the transition easier,” Oakley said. 

Oakley explained that there was an executive order placed to temporarily postpone the usual student withdrawal rules and have introduced new ideas such as EWs (excused withdrawals), which were made in order to help students adjust without feeling overwhelmed. 

Flexibility on grading was also enforced and the expansion of resources to help both faculty and students. Including meal distributions, laptop giveaways, free Wi-Fi, and parking lot access, and emergency grants. 

Three million dollars in aid will soon be accessible to students to help continue paying for classes and supplies that will allow them to proceed with their education.

Oakley encouraged reporters to spread the word and emphasize the importance of participating in the 2020 census due to college students being at risk of not being counted for.

“There was a lot of information coming at once and coming really quickly […] the understanding of it is it happened so quickly and we had to react so quickly that information wasn’t always getting to everybody as clear as possible,” Oakley said in response to a question about certain schools hesitations to shut down and unprepared faculty. 

Oakley explained that several schools had to accommodate and comply with their county’s public health offices. However once Gov. Gavin Newsom enforced the stay-at-home order, everything was shut down immediately but since the shutdown schools and faculty have begun to regain balance. 

“We will continue to see through our commitment to serving our students and supporting them in every way we can and continue advocating for our students at both state and federal levels,” Oakley said.