The colleges are currently deciding which additional spring 2021 classes need to be taught in person but can also meet safety protocols, such as physical distancing and regular sanitizing. The district is also looking into providing limited student support services on the campuses if public health conditions permit, Neault said.
“We all miss the vibrancy of our campuses filled with students, but we must first consider the extent to which we can open our campuses while ensuring our students and employees are protected,” she said.
The chancellor praised efforts to ensure students’ progress in their education despite the hardships of the pandemic, noting that more than 1,100 faculty members and other employees at both colleges have been approved to provide online and remote learning. The colleges have embraced innovative techniques to support students by creating virtual campuses with online student services, including counseling, tutoring and virtual help desks.
Both Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges are accepting student applications for emergency grants funded by the $5 million the campuses collectively received from federal funding through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, along with grants from the Foundation for Grossmont & Cuyamaca Colleges, and other program and college funding. Additionally, both colleges have held food and laptop distributions to address basic needs and technology challenges facing community college students. Wifi hotspots will be opening at both campuses September 28 to assist students who have difficulty accessing the internet from their homes.
One high point has been the substantial increase in enrollment in the Grossmont-Cuyamaca College Promise, the program that provides two years of free tuition to first-time college students attending full-time. More than 2,700 Promise students are currently enrolled, compared to 1,949 students in the program last year.