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News Links | March 12, 2020

March 12, 2020 by SBCTC Communications

System News | Opinion

Planning for coronavirus with fewer resources

... Several community colleges have canceled in-person classes in Washington State, where more than 160 people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus. Shoreline Community College, about 12 miles north of Seattle, switched to remote learning for most courses on Tuesday. “No one can practice for something like this,” said Cheryl Roberts, president of the college. But Shoreline had a head start on preparations, as well as some past practice in moving courses online. The college activated an infectious disease protocol and started working on a continuity of business plan when the outbreak began in China weeks ago, Roberts said. Shoreline also dealt with “snowmageddon” last year, which helped prepare faculty and the college for moving to online platforms quickly.
Inside Higher Ed, March 11, 2020

Editorial: Lack of funding for two-year schools affects state economy

... [Walla Walla Community College] and the nearly three dozen community and technical colleges in Washington help prepare thousands of students each year for careers and thousands more with an affordable start on four-year degrees. These schools play an essential role in our state’s economy, which is something that seems to be undervalued. Though efforts by WWCC administration underline an effort toward increased transparency — a commendable move — by scheduling a campus-wide town hall meeting, the Legislature needs to step in to provide funding to ensure the sustainability of WWCC and other community and technical colleges.
Union-Bulletin, March 11, 2020

$6.5 million awarded to increase energy efficiency and reduce costs in state-owned buildings and facilities

The Department of Commerce announced $6.5 million in State Performance Improvement (SPI) grants that will result in higher efficiency and better environmental performance in state-owned buildings. The funding will cover additional costs incurred by choosing more efficient options for existing project plans, such as higher efficiency heating systems or windows. ... Clover Park Technical College – $225,445, Edmonds Community College – $74,986, Grays Harbor College – $46,000, Green River College – $100,000, Highline College – $92,950, Lake Washington Institute of Technology – $747,000, $572,000, Shoreline Community College – $249,912, South Puget Sound Community College – $188,000, Yakima Valley College – $600,529.
Tacoma Daily Index, March 11, 2020

WWU, WCC move all classes online after Whatcom County’s first COVID-19 diagnosis

... Whatcom Community College, which had already canceled classes Wednesday, announced in a tweet at 11:13 a.m. Wednesday that it is following suit and moving the remainder of its winter quarter classes online. Winter quarter concludes March 27. ... As previously reported, Bellingham Technical College will end its semester six days early on March 20.
Bellingham Herald, March 11, 2020

Similar approaches for dealing with COVID-19

Community colleges in Washington – the state where the virus surfaced first in the U.S. – also have had varied yet similar approaches. Lake Washington Institute of Technology, where a faculty member this month tested positive for the virus, provides on its website its approach to instruction and student services, including financial aid and veterans services, enrollment services, assessments and more. Everett Community College ... Bellingham Technical College, Shoreline Community College.
Community College Daily, March 11, 2020

WWCC's chief warrior resigns, reserving his strength for battle against cancer

Derek Brandes has resigned as president of Walla Walla Community College. After meeting in executive session on Monday, the board of trustees unanimously accepted the resignation of Brandes, effective immediately. Chad Hickox, provost and vice president, was named acting president. In their separation settlement, the board agreed to pay Brandes $66,000 over the course of the next year, along with the value of any unused vacation. A search for an interim president for WWCC will begin immediately while a process is put in place to seek out a permanent replacement for Brandes, Hickox said.
Union-Bulletin, March 10, 2020

Pierce College announces 2020 All-Washington Academic Team members

In recognition of their high academic achievements, four outstanding Pierce College students were recently named to the 2020 All-Washington Academic Team. Phi Theta Kappa, the international honor society for two-year colleges, introduced the All-USA Academic Team to honor students for their scholastic achievement and community service efforts. The students who comprise the All-Washington Academic Team reflect the diversity of the state, maintain high standards of excellence and contribute positively to the community. Pierce College Fort Steilacoom has selected Samuel Boakye and Salina Cornett. Pierce College Puyallup has selected Wei Han and Michelle Reinicke.
The Suburban Times, March 10, 2020

Schools changing plans amid COVID-19 fears

... “The health and safety of our college community and our local community is of primary concern,” Skagit Valley College President Tom Keegan said. On Monday, the Snohomish County Health District announced a woman in her 70s who was a resident of Josephine Caring Community in Stanwood had tested positive for the coronavirus, which causes the COVID-19 disease. Nine students and two faculty members from the Skagit Valley College Certified Nursing Assistant program have been participating in clinical instruction at Josephine Caring Community since early February, according to a news release from the college. “We want to make every effort to limit any further exposure,” Keegan said.
Skagit Valley Herald, March 10, 2020

Big Bend Community College employee self-quarantines

... Big Bend [Community College] administrators learned Sunday evening that the Grant County Health District (GCHD) asked an employee of the college to self-quarantine for 14 days after possibly being exposed to the virus in late February. GCHD says the employee appears to be asymptomatic. The school says the preventative steps are being taken out of an “abundance of caution,” to protect the Big Bend Campus Community. School staff say they were told by GCHD that the employee is not exhibiting coronavirus symptoms and therefore does not qualify for coronavirus testing at this time per federal and state guidelines.
iFiber One, March 9, 2020

Shoreline Community College puts most classes online and cancels athletic competitions and theater productions through March 25

On Friday, March 6, 2020, Shoreline Community College made the decision to move most classes to remote instruction as of this Tuesday, March 10, 2020. There is no known case of COVID-19 on the campus. However, beginning Tuesday, March 10, the majority of classes will discontinue meeting in person and will continue online for the remainder of the quarter (through March 25). Instructors have been asked to conduct classes and exams remotely, wherever possible, with some exceptions. Instructors will be contacting their students to make arrangements for online instruction or for continuing the course in person. 
Shoreline Area News, March 9, 2020

Green River College cancels classes, switches to alternative formats for coronavirus

Green River College is the latest college to alter activities amid the state’s coronavirus outbreak. In a statement Monday, the college said day and evening classes for Monday, March 9, were canceled “as we prepare to move courses to alternative formats starting Tuesday (March 10).  “The remainder of winter quarter classes will be completed in a manner that reduces face-to-face meetings. All GRC offices will remain open during this time to provide key services to our community.”
The News Tribune, March 9, 2020

Clark College professor Steven Clark talks about belonging in three-part series

Washougal resident and Clark College biology professor Steven Clark found himself drawn to the concept of what it means to belong after watching the “Far from the Tree” documentary, based on psychology professor Andrew Solomon’s award-winning book, “Far from the Tree: Parents, Children and the Search for Identity,” at the Liberty Theatre in Camas in 2019. ... The March 10 discussion will feature several guest speakers, including Becky Engle, an American Sign Language professor at Clark College; Yuen Chan, a family medicine doctor in Portland; and Michael Brown, a dean of libraries and academic success services at Clark College.
Camas-Washougal Post-Record, March 5, 2020

Trends | Horizons | Education

Inslee to order all private, public K-12 schools in King, Pierce, Snohomish counties to close through April 24 due to coronavirus concerns

Gov. Jay Inslee is planning to announce the closure of all K-12 schools, public and private, in King, Snohomish and Pierce counties for more than a month, according to a source with knowledge of the situation. Under the executive order, schools can hold classes until Monday, March 16. They must close by March 17 and remain closed until April 24. The directive came just one day after Inslee put all school districts in Washington state on notice to create contingency plans in case they are ordered to close. He said he was planning to meet with superintendents in King, Snohomish and Pierce counties.
The Seattle Times, March 12, 2020

Measure to protect GI Bill recipients amid closures

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs would have the discretion not to reduce GI Bill benefits for student veterans if their colleges or universities close or go online only during the coronavirus pandemic, under a bill proposed Wednesday in the U.S. Congress. “No student veteran, dependent or spouse should be worried about their GI Bill benefits being reduced or cut off because of actions their school is taking in response to COVID-19," Representative Phil Roe, sponsor of HR 6194, said in a statement.
Inside Higher Ed, March 12, 2020

Is my school closed today? Here’s a list of coronavirus-related K-12 and college closures in Washington state

Schools across Washington state are shutting down or moving instruction online because of concerns about the novel coronavirus — whether out of caution or because of a confirmed case of COVID-19. We’ll update this list of closures at least once daily during the school week. If you want to see which schools have previously closed but reopened, check out the state’s list here. Let us know if we’re missing something by emailing
The Seattle Times, March 10, 2020

ETS plans TOEFL at home in coronavirus-affected countries

The Educational Testing Service is planning a Test of English as a Foreign Language that can be taken from home for those in countries where the coronavirus has made in-person testing impossible. "We are targeting this solution to be introduced by the end of March in selected locations outside Mainland China. ETS is also working closely with the relevant government agencies in Mainland China on ways to launch this solution there as soon as possible," said a memo on the new test by Srikant Gopal, executive director of the TOEFL program. 
Inside Higher Ed, March 10, 2020

Workers with skills but no degree

Do good jobs exist for those without four-year degrees? A new working paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research sought to answer this question. While four-year degrees can easily signal the skills or level of preparation a worker might have for a job, it's harder for those who are "skilled through alternative routes," like previous jobs or experience, to signal what they know, the report says. The researchers looked at data on skill requirements of jobs to find the gaps between a worker's current job and higher-wage jobs with similar skill requirements.
Inside Higher Ed, March 10, 2020

A looming challenge for OER?

The way instructors discover textbooks and the way students purchase them has changed rapidly over the past five years. Today, the textbook industry is at an inflection point, according to a new survey on educational resources by Bay View Analytics, formerly the Babson Survey Research Group. “The whole market has changed,” said Jeff Seaman, director of Bay View Analytics. The most recent data from the company suggest there is growing acceptance of digital materials over print among faculty. 
Inside Higher Ed, March 10, 2020

Compilation on digital accessibility for students with disabilities

Inside Higher Ed is pleased to release today our latest print-on-demand compilation, "The New Accessibility: Students With Disabilities and Access to Technology." You may download a copy [link provided in the article], free. And you may sign up here for a free webcast on the themes of the booklet on Thursday, April 23, at 2 p.m. Eastern.
Inside Higher Ed, March 10, 2020

Moving online now: How to keep teaching during coronavirus

As the coronavirus spreads, colleges are scrambling to respond to potential health-care crises, campus closures, and other issues that are arising and evolving on a daily basis. A major challenge: How can institutions continue to offer instruction if they decide to close or cancel in-person classes? A growing number are moving classes online as a short-term solution. Download this free Chronicle collection for must-read advice guides and opinion pieces on online learning. You'll get the insight and analysis needed to make the adjustment to teaching a full roster of courses online, if that time comes.
The Chronicle of Higher Education, March 10, 2020

IRAPs rule stays much the same

... “Apprenticeships are widely recognized to be a highly effective job-training approach for American workers and for employers seeking the skilled workforce needed in today’s changing workplace,” Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia said in a press release. “This new rule offers employers, community colleges and others a flexible, innovative way to quickly expand apprenticeship in telecommunications, health care, cybersecurity, and other sectors where apprenticeships currently are not widely available.”
Community College Daily, March 10, 2020

Politics | Local, State, National

Senate overturns DeVos rule limiting debt relief for defrauded students

Senate Republicans joined Democrats Wednesday to overturn a rule backed by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos that would have limited the student debt relief granted to people defrauded by for-profit colleges — an unusual bipartisan move to undo a Trump administration initiative to weaken an Obama-era policy. In a 53-42 vote, 10 Republicans joined Democrats to pass the resolution, which was first approved by the Democratic-held House in January.
CNN, March 11, 2020

How the presidential candidates fare on education policy issues

To help the media, advocates, and the public assess where the candidates stand, the Education Policy Program at New America is tracking presidential candidates’ 2020 positions on major education issues. The Democratic candidates featured here are the 10 candidates who qualified for the November 20th debate, as determined by the rules set by the Democratic National Committee. The only Republican candidate with a sizeable amount of support in high-quality national polls conducted to date is the incumbent, and hence is the only candidate included at this time.
New America, March 10, 2020

Last Modified: 3/12/20 5:11 PM
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