The Palomar District is taking preventative measures in case there is a confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) case on campus.
Palomar officials announced that the college will remain open for the time being and they are set to announce a plan by the end of the week if the campus will transition to teaching classes remotely.
Faculty members have been asked by the District to be prepared in an email sent out on March 11. Shayla Sivert, acting Vice President of Instruction, wrote that “in the event that we need to switch from face-to-face classes to an alternate method of instruction.”
Sivert shared some solutions to teaching remotely such as utilizing Canvas and online meeting apps like ZOOM.
In an email sent out by the Palomar Faculty Federation, Palomar’s faculty union, faculty members are looking through several contingency plans.
“Deciding to put our courses online is a difficult decision to make,” the email read. “Determining the timing of a potential closure, the metrics that would prompt a closure, and the ability to reopen the campus quickly are of prime importance.”
Coronavirus aka COVID-19
Coronavirus is a highly contagious virus that has been rapidly evolving worldwide. The virus has been officially determined a pandemic by the World Health Organization, and there have been over 1,000 confirmed cases in the United States.
Dr. Patrick Savaiano, Assistant Director of Palomar’s Student Health Centers, encourages students who are sick to stay home. Savaiano also shared that persons with higher health risks, like older people and those with preexisting heart and lung conditions, should begin practicing social distancing.
Palomar officials and community members discussed how Palomar is taking preventative measures and what the next steps will be at a meeting held on March 9.
Continued: Julie Lanthier Bandy, Director of Public Affairs, said that Scenario 3 or 4 would prompt a potential transition to online classes or campus closure. Palomar College is currently in Scenario 1. @telescopenews pic.twitter.com/FHKkVMa90q
— Ana Acosta (@AnaReports) March 10, 2020
Julie Lanthier-Bandy, Director of Public Affairs, shared in the meeting that Palomar is currently in “Scenario 1.” This means that the District is only taking preventative measures at the time being.
Bandy further said that there would be campus closure only in the case that a student or staff member had been positively tested for coronavirus.
According to Savaiano, there have been multiple requests by students for officials to close the campus in prevention, while other students are reportedly worried about their educational progress.
Local campuses such as Cal State University San Marcos and UCSD decided to suspend face-to-face classes until further notice.
Students who have questions about symptoms are encouraged to call first. Students are encouraged to call Palomar’s Student Health Centers at (760) 891-7830 to discuss symptoms and general guidance.
Saviano emphasized that students should call ahead before choosing to show up to a healthcare center in-person.
Staff and faculty have been asked to call their local health providers or the San Diego Epidemiology Unit (SDEU) if they have significant reasons to believe they may have coronavirus. The SDEU can be reached at (619) 692-8499.
This is a developing story.
Featured image by Blake Northington