The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

Changes for City College in the midst of COVID-19

Ducks take advantage of City College’s empty campus and rest in puddles in the quad Wednesday, March 11, 2020. (Kelsey Brown/[email protected])

As many students make adjustments to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, City College’s staff is working to make changes to help students cope with the challenges of switching to online education. Due to the unprecedented circumstances surrounding the college’s transition to remote operations, City College is giving students who have dropped on or after March 18 an excused withdrawal. 

Kim Goff, admissions and records supervisor, explained the difference between excused withdrawals and regular withdrawals. 

“An excused withdrawal carries no academic penalties,” said Goff. “It won’t put you on probation; it won’t put you on academic dismissal. It doesn’t count against you in terms of progress, so there is no harm in terms of your transcript.”

Excused withdrawals (with an EW designation) are being used throughout community colleges in California to allow students to drop their classes without fear of suffering the consequences of regular withdrawals during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

For students transferring, Goff explained that colleges and universities will understand  “that something happened during that semester that created an excused withdrawal,” and that an EW carries no negative repercussions. 

Kaitlyn Collignon, City College’s communications and public information officer, explained that students who’ve had their classes canceled or just wish to drop will receive excused withdrawals and be refunded fully for most out-of-pocket tuition fees paid this semester, though certain fees—like the Student Representation fee and Universal Transportation Pass fee—cannot be refunded. 

“There’s obviously a lot of different reasons that students may not have the ability to participate in an online class, or might not feel like they’re able to participate in the online class,” said Collignon. “So there is a little bit of flexibility in that.”

The process of receiving an excused withdrawal is to follow the usual withdrawal procedure and drop by the end of the semester, according to Goff. Students can manage their classes through eservices, including dropping a class. A withdrawal will initially show up as a “W,” but will be changed later in the semester to an “EW.” 

After students drop a class, City College business services will begin working to issue a refund, according to Collignon. Students whose classes have been canceled due to in-person requirements that cannot be met will receive an excused withdrawal as well.

Along with getting refunds for dropped classes, students who paid for a parking pass and Health Services fees will receive a partial refund of approximately 56%, Collignon said, based on the number of days left in the semester since classes moved to remote operations. 

“If students paid for the tuition out of pocket on a credit card, it’ll go back to the credit card,” said Collignon. “If they paid through it though some other form of payment, it will be a check issued.” 

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Though neither Goff nor Collignon are not sure when students will receive refunds, they said that district employees and City College staff are trying to get everything done in a timely fashion.

“We have like 80,000 students in this district, and so everyone’s trying to work really hard at automating this so that things happen automatically for students,” said Goff. “I don’t have a timeline, but everyone’s working to get this all done by the end of the semester—as soon as possible, of course.”

With the spring semester’s online transition starting to fall into place, students, faculty and staff are discussing all possible options about future semesters, according to Collignon. Summer school classes have shifted completely to online instruction.

“The summer schedule they’re still working on,” said Collignon. “That will be coming out on April 13, and then students will be able to see all the offerings for summer.” 

Goff also explained that though only online classes will be offered in summer, it’s typically a smaller summer schedule than fall and spring semester offerings. 

“Some of the lab classes are going to be offered in the summer, but some really just aren’t feasible,” explained Goff. “It’s really if the instructors are able to get all of that lab content into an online environment—and it’s just not possible for every one of them.” 

Goff explained that some labs, such as chemistry, cannot be replicated at home by students, and as a result many professors are getting creative to bring their labs to the homes of their students.

“One of the things they’re considering is simulation and how that can play a role virtually for people who may need to experience something that they would normally experience in a lab setting or a clinical setting. [So they’re discussing] how can simulation help them get that experience,” said Collignon. “There’s a lot of ingenuity out there. People are really looking for ways to get creative and make sure our students can continue, if at all possible.” 

Like many other colleges and universities, the Los Rios Community College District is waiting to see how this pandemic unfolds before making decisions about the fall semester. 

“They’re still discussing fall and what’s going to happen, but we do hope to have more information to provide to everybody soon,” said Collignon. “Those conversations are still happening as to how they are going to tackle the fall schedule—whether there’s going to be more online, or whether they’re going to split the semester. They’re really just exploring all their options. But we hope to actually have some firm decisions shortly for everyone.”

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    JodyApr 2, 2020 at 12:15 pm

    Glad to finally have some correct information and also see that the Los Rios District has taken this issue into consideration and be willing to give students the option of the “E W”.