By Raymond Nava
Remote learning classes at East Los Angeles College are expected to be extended into the fall semester of 2021. Since April, classes at ELAC have been online as COVID-19 pandemic continues to go on.
Online classes are scheduled to continue for the upcoming winter and spring semesters. Staff at ELAC are preparing for online classes to continue into fall of next year. Students taking general classes should be prepared for the entirety of classes in 2021 to be online.
According to Ruben Arenas, vice president of liberal arts and sciences, the college currently has no formal decision on how it is approaching the fall semester scheduling. The administration, academic senate and department chairs have decided to plan for fully online classes for fall of 2021, citing worsening COVID-19 figures.
Arenas said that some courses in essential work areas will be held in-person, with the required health mandates. Despite recent news about a potential COVID-19 vaccine, Arenas says that it wouldn’t affect the district’s plans.
The prospects of a COVID-19 vaccine being widely distributed by spring of 2021 have made headlines in the news. Despite this, Arenas says that, at this point, it’s impossible to speculate the trajectory a vaccine would alter the fall 2021 semester.
He said the deadline for setting up the fall schedule is in January, before a potential vaccine would begin to be widely rolled out. Arenas said, however, that if the situation changes, the administration will assess the possibility of offering on-campus sections within the parameters set by health officials.
Arenas said course sections are a single offering of a course. He said ELAC is already running a small number of face-to-face sections after meeting the governor’s definition of an essential infrastructure.
Arenas said additional course sections could be added next fall because of the effectiveness of a vaccine, or it might be because we meet public health requirements for additional essential infrastructure capacity. However, there has been no current discussion about mandating students be vaccinated to attend these additional in-person sections.
The extension of online classes will no doubt be beneficial to all students at ELAC.
The prospects of a vaccine are unknown, but this ensures the continued safety of students and staff. Whether or not the college will mandate for students to be vaccinated in order to attend any limited in-person classes may put some people off.
The extension also gives students more opportunities to take classes with non-ideal class times online. Students can take a class online that may be only offered at night whereas they might have continued to put it off due to not wanting to travel to ELAC later in the day.
The deadline to register for winter classes is Jan. 8, and the deadline to register for spring classes is Feb. 7.