ARC begins preparation for transition online in wake of coronavirus spread

In+the+wake+of+the+global+spread+of+COVID-19%2C+many+campuses+across+the+U.S.+have+shifted+online%2C+or+cancelled+classes+all+together%2C+to+reduce+exposure.+Los+Rios+Community+College+District+is+urging+all+professors+to+be+prepared+to+transfer+online+by+March+17%2C+2020.+%28Illustration+courtesy+of+Pixabay.com%29

In the wake of the global spread of COVID-19, many campuses across the U.S. have shifted online, or cancelled classes all together, to reduce exposure. Los Rios Community College District is urging all professors to be prepared to transfer online by March 17, 2020. (Illustration courtesy of Pixabay.com)

Thomas Cathey

The American River College Community Relations office sent out a campus-wide email on Monday, alerting students to the possibility of a transition to an “online environment” as COVID-19, or “coronavirus,” continues to spread in California. 

Although no one in the Los Rios Community College District has tested positive for the virus so far, ARC’s communication division indicated that faculty and staff have been encouraged to prepare by next week for a transition to online instruction in case of a campus closure.

“This is a dynamic situation, so we are preparing for any change in the direction from public health experts,” ARC communications staff wrote in the email. “We know that COVID-19 testing is increasing throughout our region, which could lead to rapid changes to our current status.”

Classes in the district are still to carry on as scheduled, but ARC communications have urged students to be aware of the possibility of finishing the semester online. 

“For these reasons, faculty and staff have been encouraged to begin planning to transition instruction and direct services for students to an online environment,” the ARC communications email said. “We recognize that not all courses and services can be effectively delivered online, and students will need to connect with each of their professors to get clarity regarding the specific approach to that class.” 

Then, on Wednesday, ARC Communications sent out another email stating that the district expects to have a plan in place for a transition to online courses on March 17. 

“This does not mean your classes will necessarily move to online on March 17,” the email said. “The specific decision to implement this plan would be activated by recommendations by public health experts, but we need to be ready.”

Brian King, chancellor of the Los Rios Community College District, also notified LRCCD employees via email that all out-of-district travel will be frozen. 

Effective immediately, we are freezing all out-of-district travel. The public health status of different communities, even within the state of California, is evolving rapidly and it is imperative that we do everything we can to mitigate unnecessary risk,” King wrote. “If you have travel scheduled and believe it is urgent and essential, please work with your supervisor to discuss a possible exception.

As of now, there have been zero confirmed cases of the virus across all four LRCCD campuses.