By Samantha Lopez, Feb. 2, 2021
Cal Poly Pomona announced last week that the start of in-person instruction would be further delayed until March 1, pushing back on the previously targeted start date of Feb. 8 due to surging COVID-19 cases in Los Angeles County. This delay affects the few courses previously approved by the university to have limited in-person instruction.
The closure of most campus buildings, except for critical student services facilities, was also extended until March 1 with only authorized personnel able to enter those buildings closed to the public. Buildings that are still open, like the Student Health Services building, are operating under modified hours.
Associate Provost for Academic Planning and Resources Sep Eskandari said that discussions on approaching in-person modes of instruction for the spring semester began late last year when there were predictions regarding the severity of a second wave of confirmed cases. However, with the data the university was presented from the LA County Department of Public Health on the rise of confirmed cases, the decision to delay in-person instruction was made.
“LA County is a hotbed of confirmed cases,” Eskandari said. “By delaying courses, we are continuing to keep our community safe and will reassess for upcoming semesters when health data from the county are provided to us.”
For second year engineering major, Sabrina Martinez, taking in-person components last semester during the pandemic was easier than she had anticipated.
“A lot of people get it, we’re in a pandemic and we need to be safe and respectful to others that are here (in class) to learn,” Martinez said. “The university is doing good at making us feel safe on campus.”
Martinez is currently enrolled in one of the courses with a delay of in-person instruction, however, notices no difference in curriculum thus far.
Coordinator of the Safer Return Task Force Frances Teves is working closely with the university and Eskandari to keep the campus community safe. All health protocols that were followed in the previous year will continue for the spring semester.
According to Teves, the campus-wide email sent out in December first announcing restricted campus access was meant to discuss the ways in which CPP has and will continue to follow health protocols. She also encouraged divisional vice presidents to reevaluate what positions can carried out from home rather than on campus in light of the influx of confirmed COVID-19 cases in LA County.
Teves remains hopeful that the cases will go down following the distribution of the vaccine but predicts that practices adopted during the pandemic will continue being part of daily life.
“We are in a shifting and uncertain time,” Teves said. “Even with the vaccine, I can’t foresee a future anytime soon where we don’t have to wear face coverings or socially distance ourselves from others.”
The California State University’s announcement that it anticipates the return of in-person instruction for fall also poses challenges for administrators looking past the spring semester.
Reassessment for the predominately online summer semester, according to Eskandari, is not out of the question in terms of allowing more students back on campus earlier should the data show a decline in case count.
Eskandari said he is hopeful for the future of the upcoming fall semester to allow more in-person mode of instruction classes to return to campus, but the decision relies on LA County data that will not be available to the university until March and April.
To learn more or get updates from the campus regarding safety information, visit https://www.cpp.edu/safety/safer-return/index.shtml.
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