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Nation's Largest CC District Shifting to Online Learning Until Mid-April

The country's largest community college system, Los Angeles Community College District, announced this week that it is moving as many courses as possible to online formats across its nine colleges, at least until April 13. As of yesterday, the system knew of no confirmed cases of coronavirus or exposure risks tied to its colleges or other facilities.

The online delivery is expected to start on March 18, 2020. Until then, campuses will remain open, "subject to any different guidance" from the county or state's departments of public health. That will be preceded by two days of professional development for faculty members, where they'll will learn how to use Instructure Canvas, Zoom and other software to facilitate online instruction.

The exceptions to the decision involve any courses "that do not lend well to an online format," LACCD said. That includes classes for career education programs, hands-on labs, performance classes, adult education classes and physical education/kinesiology courses.

Chancellor Francisco Rodriguez noted in a statement that the decision had been made "out of an abundance of caution" to "protect the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff" and to help reduce the spread of the virus.

The district said it would also postpone or cancel any events scheduled between March 16 and April 13 that are expected to draw more than a hundred people. No decision has been made yet on how graduation ceremonies will be handled; those are scheduled for June 9.

LACCD had already suspended non-essential travel for executives and deans and is considering doing the same for all personnel and students.

LACCD reported that it would activate a call center open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, to answer questions from students and faculty about online learning. The number for that is (844) MyLACCD or (844) 695-2223. And it has added a COVID-19 update page to its website, where it is posting the latest information.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.

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