Maricopa District extends campus shutdown ahead of online conversion

The Maricopa County Community College District (MCCCD) announced further postponement of in-person classes until April 5 to convert many of its courses to online only for the spring semester. This announcement comes as schools across the nation close their doors to comply with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) latest coronavirus (COVID-19) prevention measures. 

In an email sent to students, MCCCD Interim Chancellor and MCC’s Interim President Lori Berquam said the decision was, “…based on the continuously evolving status surrounding the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.”

MCC political science professor Brian Dille described campus educators as “resolute” in the face of these challenges. 

“The main focus is how we can do the mission of the college, which is to serve students, in ways that don’t put us or the students at risk,” Dille said. “We know what needs to be done. People are just buckling down and doing it.” 

Dille suggested classes like social sciences, reading or English could easily convert to online courses, but others like mathematics, natural sciences or internships may face a more difficult challenge.

“Social science sort of lends itself to reading stuff, watching stuff and talking about stuff. So that’s all very easily done online,” Dille said. ”…Then you get a natural science course that has a lab, where you physically have to combine two chemicals to see what happens. You can watch someone online… but the whole point of a lab is there is nothing like that experiential learning.”

Students are recommended to check their student emails and Canvas for updates from their instructors on whether their course will continue online. As of now, it seems only courses impossible to teach online will be available on campus. 

In addition to course preparation, MCC will be utilizing this time for on-campus sanitation.

“In order to protect our MCC Community, all physical campus facilities will be closed and locked until Monday, April 6th,” read an email sent by the Office of Academic and Student Affairs to staff on March 19. “Do not return to campus to pick up items, water plants, or use equipment. During the physical closure, the facilities team will be doing a deep clean, and we don’t want to compromise their work by re-entering buildings.”

Mesa Legend staff will continue to update this story as more information becomes available.

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