Classes resume at home, all events canceled

After an unexpected spring break extension, JJC students returned to classes on Monday, March 29.

In accordance with safety measures mandated by the state to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, all classes and support services have been transitioned online, and students can expect to finish the semester remotely.

With all classes being shifted into an online format, including laboratory classes, students should be aware of all services that are still available to them. Support services like Career Services, Disability Services, Student Advising Center and the Tutoring and Learning Center and more can be accessed through students’ MyJJC portal.

JJC’s libraries will also be closed and unavailable for use; however, some library resources are still available to students online through the school website. Susan Prokopeak, a librarian and department chairperson for the library, says the library has updated its webpage and most of its resources can be accessed online.

“Students can still access things like databases, ebooks and audiobooks,” said Prokopeak. “Everything’s online. It’s not ideal, and this is not just an issue for students, but some staff members as well.”

Prokopeak said that should students need help with anything, they can set up an appointment with a librarian through the website. Librarians are available Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Fridays and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. 

With libraries closing all around the world during this time, students without internet access will have much more difficulty completing their course work. The college has a limited number of Chromebooks available for students with the most need for technology. Students who need Chromebooks should contact their instructors and ask them for support.

Technology support is also still available for students 24/7 through the Tech Support Hotline: (866) 281-3638.

Although registration for summer and fall 2020 is still occurring, students who may be considering dropping any classes this semester due to the online format change are still awaiting an official announcement as to whether or not they will be refunded in any way. The college is still working on finalizing any plan.

 Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Randall Fletcher, did discuss a potential plan via an email to faculty. For any course converted into an online format that a student may want to withdraw from, there would be a course-specific voucher option. The process begins with the student being issued a “Withdraw” for the requested course(s), resulting in a W placed on the student’s transcript.

Students would have the cost of tuition and fees for the courses approved for withdrawal covered by the voucher. Then, they would have one year from the date of issue to re-enroll in the same course.

In a decision made in accordance with Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s “stay-at-home” order, as well as the CDC’s recommendation for maintaining social distancing, students will not be returning to school for any reason this semester. JJC has canceled all events for the rest of the semester. This includes any club meetings, informational sessions and all college-sponsored travel.

Students are still waiting for an official announcement on the fate of the spring commencement ceremony. It is most likely JJC’s graduation will not be taking place in May, if at all. The administration is currently looking at other potential options.

“Our first priority is to ensure the health, well-being and safety of our campus community,” said JJC President Judy Mitchell when the decision to go all-online was announced. “We will continue to monitor this diligently, making preemptive decisions as needed.”

Just one day before the announcement of classes moving online, the college learned of a student who tested positive for the virus. The student was taking classes at the Main Campus, and was last on campus on March 5.

The A and U buildings underwent a deep cleaning, according to Mitchell, and “all students, faculty and staff who may have interacted with the student who tested positive for COVID-19 have been contacted.”

Illinois’ coronavirus cases have now surpassed 10,000, with over 250 deaths. Health commissioners have estimated the state will reach its peak later on this month, and have encouraged all residents to wear face masks outside their homes. Residents should continue to practice all safety guidelines recommended by the CDC.