Tuesday, December 15, 2020
We departed campus for Spring Break with happy thoughts of sun, fun and relaxation. However, for many, especially our leadership team, Spring Break was far from relaxing due to the rapid spread of COVID-19.
On Thursday, March 12, 2020, just part-way through the break, College President Sandy Shugart sent an urgent message to employees sharing that we’d begin transitioning instruction to alternative modalities to reduce face-to-face interaction. Our move to online learning, although temporary at the time, had officially begun.
In the days to follow, as new information from local, state and federal leaders evolved, communications persevered rapidly.
By Saturday, March 14, 2020, right before employees planned to return from Spring Break, Dr. Shugart sent another urgent message announcing that all Valencia College locations would remain closed following Spring Break. Then on Sunday, March 22, 2020, he announced that we would remain primarily a remote team through at least the end of the Spring 2020 term. We could not have anticipated at that time that our campuses would continue to be mostly closed through the end of the Spring 2021 term.
Transitioning to an online environment brought, not only days of sweatpants, structuring workdays with children at home and Zoom calls, but also new resources for quickly transitioning to online teaching, as well as best practices for working remotely and supervising in a remote setting.
We introduced two new grade options, loaner laptops for students and the new course modality, “Real-time Virtual” (RTV). We moved our support services to an online environment including the Answer Center, advising, tutoring and tech support.
And we launched a series of calling campaigns to calm and encourage students who may have felt anxiety moving from in-person or mixed-mode to online classes; help students enroll in fall 2020 courses; and assist them with registration for the spring 2020 term.