After a series of meetings within the past several days by faculty and staff and reiterated at a vocal Board of Trustees meeting Wednesday, College of the Canyons has plans to modify instruction following the spread of COVID-19. The details will be shared with students and the community Thursday morning, according to college officials.

As of now, classes will continue to be held on campus until further notice from college officials.

Student Trustee Basil Aranda pushed the Board for a plan for a soft closure of the school by Monday. The plan would help the school prepare in case of an emergency shut down by the state.

“We don’t want to be caught with our pants down by our ankles,” said Aranda. “Did you see the news on your phones tonight about the NBA?”

Aranda referred to Wednesday’s decision by the league to suspend its season until further notice after one of its players tested positive for COVID-19. “They were not prepared,”

COC has taken steps during this past few weeks to sanitize the campus. Even with the precautions taken, the school is thinking of taking more drastic action to protect the staff, students and the community.

COC’s options include a soft closure of both campuses, which would move most classes online, while keeping lab based classes face-to-face. Campus leaders’ say they want to decrease the number of students on campus to limit possible exposure to the virus, but keep vital campus services open.

Another option is a hard closure of both campuses, which would force all classes to be taught online.

A crew cleaning door handles on the College of the Canyons Valencia campus to prevent any potential spread of coronavirus. (Credit: Austin Dave)

COC’s impending decision to move classes online will join a growing list of local colleges taking similar steps, which includes California State University Northridge, UCLA, and UC Santa Barbara. Many other institutions across the country have taken similar steps.

WHO, or the World Health Association, declared COVID-19 a pandemic earlier this month, stating, “WHO has been assessing this outbreak around the clock and we are deeply concerned both by the alarming levels of spread and severity, and by the alarming levels of inaction. We have therefore made the assessment that COVID-19 can be characterized as a pandemic.”

However, WHO also mentions “of the 118,000 cases reported globally in 114 countries, more than 90 percent of cases are in just four countries, and two of those – China and the Republic of Korea – have significantly declining epidemics.” 

In the United States there have been 938 total cases of COVID-19 with 29 deaths as of March 10, 2020. 

(Credit: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

According to a chart from the CDC, the number of cases is on average decreasing with the precautions being taken by the United States. These precautions include cancelling or postponing some large events, like Stagecoach to later dates and also turning to online schooling options for colleges and high schools. 

The decision by COC regarding the instructional modifications will be provided Thursday morning. 

There are no confirmed cases at COC at this time. 

This is an unfolding news story and will be updated if and when new information is received and vetted for accuracy.

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