Bring State Community Colleges Back to In-Person Classes ASAP – Daily Breeze

For generations, California’s community colleges have been a big part of the legacy of higher education success that has helped define our state.

Conveniently located, affordable to all, offering technical and continuing education courses as well as pure academics, they have also long been a connecting place for those who want or need to go to university locally before moving on to public and private universities. from California.

All schools in California have been heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. During lockdown periods, classes have become everywhere online rather than in person.

But with the lifting of restrictions, regular classroom instruction has returned to something akin to normal from kindergarten to graduate schools across the state. University of California campuses are back at full enrollment, with hundreds of thousands of prospective students from around the world clamoring to be accepted.

At the crucial community college level, not so much. Enrollment there is down, dramatically, across the state. At Pasadena City College, for example, with Santa Monica College still one of the top two schools for transfers to the UC system, 25,423 students were enrolled in 2020, 23,087 were enrolled in 2021, whereas here in 2022 , only 18,215 students have registered, as reported by the Pasadena Now news site.

The reasons are complex and still poorly understood, campus officials report. But one factor is certainly fully understood – pandemic immigration restrictions have prevented thousands of international students from leaving the country, and it is clear that few of them wanted or were allowed to remain enrolled in an education system. purely online.

National statistics show that community college enrollment fell 13% from 2019 to 2021.

And visits to community college campuses show that in many cases those who are enrolled are still using distance education.

“On a recent Monday, Merritt College, high in the hills of Oakland, the main parking lot, in front of the state-of-the-art Barbara Lee Science and Allied Health building, was almost empty,” reports Louis Freedberg of the EdSource website. “The library, which is only open Tuesday through Thursday, was sealed off by a large roll-up security gate, a bewildering sight on any college campus.”

A commenter named Kim responded to her story, “Some of the fall 2022 classes at the community college I attend only offer online and hybrid, and those are science classes I’m talking about. Some don’t offer in person at all!

“I work in a community college library,” writes commentator TL. The majority of students I’ve spoken to want to be back on campus. We also want them to come back. We believe enrollment will increase once students are allowed to return to campus full-time. Our biggest problem is that the professors don’t want to come back to campus at all.

Just as Zoom and other meetings will be an effective option for work and organizations in the future, pandemic or no pandemic, they can never completely replace the need for people to be face-to-face. “A pre-pandemic study conducted at California Community Colleges showed that students who took courses online were less likely to complete them or had lower grades, compared to students who took the exact same courses in person,” reports Freedberg. If professors don’t want to be on campus, well, as we always hear, there are plenty of underemployed PhDs who do.

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