By Juan Calvillo
Automotive Technology may return to in-person labs for the 2021 spring semester.
Department Chair Adrian Banuelos proposal would cover all the automotive class lab sections being offered during the 2021 spring semester and would follow county guidelines on reopening. Lectures would continue as online portions.
At the time of publication, Banuelos said students would not be charged for getting the personal protective equipment that would be part of in-person classes.
He said he has yet to get information on what exact equipment would be given to the students returning.
Dean of Adult and Continuing Education Juan Uridales said that various departments were asked for proposals before returning to in-person classes.
He said departments that fulfill essential worker jobs would be likely candidates for proposals.
Uridales said the process would be ordered, with students first checking in with sheriffs before going on to campus.
From there students would be issued PPE and move into totally redesigned labs for the lab portion of their classes.
He said appropriate steps would be taken if anyone were to be diagnosed with COVID-19.
“Those were things we would have to handle on a case by case, but certainly if we were to find out, we would have to go through procedures of: informing everyone that has been in contact, making sure that they are tested before we can continue…All those safety procedures would have to be followed,” Uridales said.
Banuelos said the labs would take into account social distancing, gloves, eye wear and facial shields. He said the classes would need to undergo some changes and be scheduled to meet new standards.
“We do a lot of five week module classes. These are seven hour long classes. Seven hours, each week for each class for five weeks, so that comes out to be quite a bit each day,” he said.
“But if we can break it down, for the extent, maybe about half that time on campus, it gives them more time to get to work and get ready for their jobs and get me working. So they’ll come in for their hands on portion and then they’d be gone, so we’d really wind up being about half the time,” Banuelos said.
He said the classes could be seen as hybrid type classes, but it was because of the circumstances that have caused the department to adapt to the situation.
The idea is to create a student environment that is both flexible for students working schedules, while also limiting student exposure while they are inside the lab. These classes would be online with theory while limiting lab environments to a couple of hours a day.
Uridales said with students returning, it would be up to the faculty to decide if they will also return to teach the classes.
The decision would be up to each individual to decide if they wanted to return to campus.
He said it would be a personal decision each faculty member would have to make, and that it was centered on each member’s comfort level going forward.
Banuelos said the move back to on-campus labs was important for students, especially for the hands-on portions of their classes.
He also said that it was about giving students the time to learn and make mistakes in a lab setting and not on the job.
Currently all classes are online and take advantage of both Canvas and an additional online learning tool called “Electude” that is often used for technical education.