On-campus lab classes adapt to meet safety guidelines as college announces it will remain online for Spring semester

Since+March%2C+Cerritos+College+is+closed+off+to+the+public.+During+fall+semester%2C+the+college+allows+some+courses+to+teach+their+labratory+on+campus.+

Edgar Mendoza

Since March, Cerritos College is closed off to the public. During fall semester, the college allows some courses to teach their labratory on campus.

Vincent Medina, Staff Writer

Cerritos College students are in for another semester of remote learning according to a Sep. 22 statement that said the school has decided to extend the lock down into Spring. The school has allowed some classes with a laboratory requirement on campus during the fall semester.

Classes have been online since March, when the campus was shut down due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This fall semester, the college has allowed the study center, nursing, science and photography labs on campus, but with limited class capacities.

Professor of photography, Edward Heckerman, said that students must sign an electronic waiver before coming onto campus.

“The students were told there would be a kiosk for check-in and temperature check and to get a color-coded wrist band in Lot 10, but last week it was in Lot 7,” he said.

Students are doing an outstanding job of respecting safety guidelines, reports Heckerman, “I only had to remind them once or twice to social distance. The school set up very strict guidelines, and we are adhering to them.”

Students only come to the campus when necessary, such as for the use of the laboratory. The rest of the course is virtual or online.

“Out of the eighteen weeks, we will have only three sessions in person. Specifically, nine out of 108 hours,” Heckerman said.

Despite the circumstances, students are still required to meet the laboratory requirement since it has become available. However, professors are trying to be accommodating for students.

“We raised the lab fee and are providing all the materials,” Heckerman stated. “Those students not attending will get a zero on the first assignment, and this will, of course, have consequences further down the line.”

Without the laboratory part of the course, some students may lose interest, putting some departments in jeopardy.

“You need to understand that the photography program relies on the Introductory class as a gateway to all our other classes,” he said. “If they don’t happen, things will start looking bleak for us. I am glad that the administration gets it.”

Cerritos College also announced on Tuesday that classes will continue to be taught online in the semester, with the exception of select lab courses.

Culinary arts, dental hygiene, nursing, automotive, welding, and other course labs will be on campus according to the statement made by Aya Abelon in public affairs.

“Our decision to remain online is in the best interest of our students, employees, and the community,” said President/ Superintendent Dr. Jose Fierro. “We remain committed to providing our students with a quality education in a safe learning environment, no matter the format.”

Fierro also stated that the school has increased its student support with additional resources so students can be successful in their studies during the pandemic.

The CDC has issued a strict set of guidelines to follow as schools move to reopen, especially since the coronavirus death toll has passed 200,000 in the U.S.

The CDC recommends that schools “Update considerations on ventilation, update considerations for students who may be unable to wear masks, and update considerations on recognizing signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and screening.”