Letter from College President
Recent public comments by the governor indicate he intends to soon extend his “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order, which is currently in place through April 6, and has mandated the current closure of our campuses to the public.
As we await this expected action from the governor, I’m writing you to announce a change in our operations for Spring Quarter.
In the interest of the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff, Yakima Valley College has decided to continue mostly online instruction through the end of Spring Quarter. Previously, we had intended to resume normal operations during Spring Quarter, if allowed. As COVID-19 has advanced in our community, it has become clear full classroom operations won’t happen during Spring Quarter.
This was a difficult decision. I know that for students who would prefer to learn in a classroom, this is not an ideal solution.
To arrive at this decision, we consulted with the Yakima Health District and received input from over 1,000 students, the majority of whom (64%) were in favor of continuing our online instruction through the end of Spring Quarter.
The vast majority of our students will not visit a classroom this quarter, but some of our classes require hands-on activities. These will continue to be offered using social distancing recommendations, whenever the governor’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order is lifted. These on-campus activities will require college administration approval. These exceptions will not be made for Sciences and Performing Arts classwork. All instruction in the Sciences and Performing Arts, including hands-on lab components, will be offered online.
We will offer limited, but vital resources to students on our campuses once the governor’s order is lifted. These resources will include access to computer terminals for students, utilizing social distancing (staying six feet away from other people).
The college will continue to offer a wealth of online student support services, including one-on-one tutoring, advising, and counseling.
YVC has purchased a limited number of laptops, which will be made available to students on a first-come, first-serve basis starting April 6. Students can expect an invitation via email and student online portal from Technology Services today, announcing the process for reserving one of these laptops. Students who successfully reserve a laptop will receive these computers safely, via a drive-through delivery method on YVC’s Yakima Campus, and a controlled, one-at-a-time process on YVC’s Grandview Campus.
Students, please know your college is committed to doing all we can to help you throughout Spring Quarter. Every student can succeed. Please remember our tuition deadline has been extended to April 6. With the passage of the CARES Act, we are confident there will be unprecedented financial support to help our current students continue in their educational path in the months ahead.
Many of our faculty are eager to return to their offices to better serve students in remote learning. Employees cannot visit campus until the “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order is lifted, unless they receive approval to visit campus from one of YVC’s Vice Presidents. I appreciate the flexibility and commitment to students our faculty are showing in adapting so many of their lesson plans for online delivery, now through the end of Spring Quarter.
Finally, I have an announcement regarding the reporting of COVID-19 cases. YVC has received new guidance from the Yakima Health District. Moving forward, the college will not publicly announce new positive or suspected positive cases among students, faculty, and staff. Instead, we will communicate directly with anyone we believe may have been in close contact with the affected individual. This guidance is based on the health district’s recognition it has been more than 14 days since large numbers of people have been on YVC’s campuses, and the health district’s belief COVID-19 is now widespread in Yakima County.
We continue to encourage anyone with information regarding the development of symptoms or potential exposure to the virus to report their concerns to HR, at 509.574.4670, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr. Linda Kaminski
President, Yakima Valley College