Coronavirus’ impact on Broward College

Elliot Tritto

Central Bureau Chief

It’s a new normal at Broward College with students engaging in remote learning starting March 23 as well as employees working from home amid the recent Coronavirus pandemic.

According to the Broward College Coronavirus page, all classes were suspended from March 14 – March 22, including face-to-face, online, as well as field experience courses. Remote learning began on Monday, March 23, and at this time, BC anticipates delivering summer session courses remotely as well.

Also, “Effective March 16, Broward College employees will work from home and prepare for remote learning. Students should not come to campus until further notice.”

All events, sports games and graduation have been canceled. Overall, students and professors are learning how to work and learn remotely in this time of panic.

Andrea Apa, Faculty Senate President, said she’s “proud of our faculty for their flexibility, creativity and professionalism during this transition to remote learning to maintain academic continuity for our students.”

While she said no one planned for an “abrupt mass migration of traditional college courses to the internet, because of the coronavirus (COVID-19), that’s where we are.”

“To make this work, it will require much more than providing professors training on using online conferencing software to teach their courses. Not all students are able to access or benefit from suddenly online courses equally because not all of them have ready access to a computer or the internet. Many students will probably struggle to succeed in this new remote learning format. For this reason, faculty need to continue practicing flexibility and understanding as we continue this semester. Anything to support in a fair way our students and ensure their success,” said Apa.

South Campus Science President and Ambassador, Danielle Alvarez, briefly expressed how the pandemic affected the Science Club. Due to the new virus, the Science Club canceled a trip to Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, that would’ve taken place on March 14.

“I wanted new and old members to have a good time. My advisor Katherine Peach helped me out a lot, and I helped students to submit their deposit. I hope to gain friendships as well as learn more about NASA, but sadly COVID-19 ruined our plans for NASA and future events.”

Another student, Rashad West, conveyed how he’s dealing with this situation.

“I’ve been invited to the Honors Club, but since the virus, I’ve been afraid to be in group settings, so I dismissed the idea.”

West also discussed how the transition from in-person to online classes would be difficult for him.

“I’ve never taken an online course before. I like going to class on a set schedule. This kind of threw me off track.”

BC South Campus Gaming President David Drummond brought attention to how the current events have impacted the school in a lot of ways.

“With the help of Student Life, we began preparing to host a Mario Kart 8 Tournament for March 31. However, with recent concerns for public health and safety, our tournament, like many other anticipated events, will have to wait,” said Drummond.

Regarding transiting to online classes, Drummond said, “it’s going to be tricky.”

“I’m taking a few difficult classes at once that a major adjustment like this could make it even harder without that face-to-face contact with a professor.”

Some professors are also having issues with transitioning to online.

Zoila Millen, 2019 Adjunct Professor of the Year, provided an insightful glance at how she’s preparing her students in film class.

“I want to install an AdHoc project for the remaining 12 films to be shot using their own discretion, safety and equipment. Then do a digital social media premiere that allows students to showcase and maybe creating a new way of filming for a lot of students can come from this.”

Millen added that “I miss my students and can’t believe we might switch indefinitely to online instruction. I don’t want to end the semester like this, but what choice do we have?”

Another professor that provided many intuitive details into how this has affected faculty was Lisa Burgess. Burgess teaches Biology for Majors and Non-Majors, Micro-Biology and Environmental Science at Central Campus.

Via Zoom discussion, Burgess expressed how her transition to online classes might be more comfortable than other professors.

“We have a lot of professors who are used to having face-to-face classes. Having to incorporate years of planning out courses into an online class in a week is very stressful.”

Burgess also discussed how she was going to help her students’ transition easier.

“I conducted a lot of surveys to see how my students are using D2L, what they can see, or how they can find the easier solution to learn the material. It’s hard when I hear students don’t have a reliable internet connection, so they have to use their phone data to complete the assignments.”

Broward College Sports Information Director, Ryan Givens and Athletics Director Mike Goodrich discussed the cancelation of all sports games.

“This was obviously a very difficult decision by the NJCAA. But in light of the recommendations by the CDC, this is in the best interest of the college and its student-athletes at this time,” said Givens.

“We’re part of an overall community, and this decision was very appropriate,” said Goodrich who continued the conversation by saying “we’re still recruiting new players into our sports program. Recruiting never stops. 24/7.”

Lastly, in a Skype call, Isabel Gonzalez, Chief of Staff and Vice President of Communications and Community Outreach, Janice Stubbs, Vice Provost of Student Services and Dr. Jeff Nasse, Vice Provost of Academic Affairs, discussed how the closure of school was necessary to stop the spread of the Coronavirus.

“It was the necessary precaution to make sure our community remains healthy and safe,” said Gonzalez.

During the conversation, it was also discussed how students who can’t afford a computer can complete online assignments.

“We surveyed to see if Broward College students would like to transition to online classes instead of face-to-face. The results came that 95 percent of students preferred to transition online. However, the five percent who aren’t able to complete the classes online, we’ve contacted them to see what we can do to provide them the best option.”

Additionally, President Gregory Haile posted an inspirational update on the Broward College YouTube page. President Haile’s message focuses on what he feels and hopes for from the Broward College family in this troubling time.

Haile started by greeting everyone and explained how this pandemic had affected his lifestyle. “I’m in my home. I’m not one to work from home, and that’s changing. I’m in my kitchen, I have my computer, and for the foreseeable future this will be my primary place of work.”

Haile then starts to thank the staff for their fantastic collaboration in this time of need. “I know that our staff and employees have already begun remote working, and I could not be more grateful for how you’ve responded to this. You’ve been incredibly focused on recognizing this. Not only do we have to be safe and protecting ourselves but protecting our students.”

Haile assured the students that Broward College is doing everything in its power to assist them.

“This is the kind of experience that typifies why we love serving you. This is a challenging time, and we know that our students rise to the challenge. We are going to rise with you. We’re going to continue providing tutoring services. We’re going to continue providing advising services and financial aid services. All of the other services that we can pull together to make sure that this process is as smooth as this possibly can be.”

BC faculty and administration advises students to read their emails and check their D2l notifications for updates and contact their professors if they have any concerns. If a student is unsure if they have the Coronavirus, the CDC advises to “call your doctor: If you think you have been exposed to COVID-19 and develop a fever and symptoms, such as cough or difficulty breathing, call your healthcare provider for medical advice.” If you’re unable to reach your doctor, call the Coronavirus hotline at 1 (866) 779-6121.

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