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Academic Continuity and Emergency Preparedness

Emergencies may cause community colleges throughout the state to close for extended amounts of time, causing disruption to students and staff. During these time, the imperative is to provide students with Academic Continuity (the process of preserving the functions of the academic core of the college—i.e. teaching and learning). In the event of an emergency situation declared by the Chancellor, a faculty members’ ability to continue their class in the manner that they have planned may be impacted.  In response to these emergencies there are legislated requirements to ensure students continue to receive instructional contact hours. There are also remote modes of instruction that faculty can use to change the mode of instruction for their course and/or make up contact hours. Please see the information on the left navigation bar that includes information on how to transition your class and students successfully.


Faculty Contact Hours: What Does Title 4 Say?

Full-time Equivalent Student (FTES) allowances: Title 5, section 58146 provides the criteria for funding allowances due to emergency conditions such as fires, floods, and other natural disasters or emergencies. The intent behind this section is that districts should not lose apportionment as a result of emergency conditions, as defined in the section.

Instruction and Credit Hour Requirements: In terms of instruction, the district/colleges will need to monitor class meeting cancellations to determine if the related class hours for course sections fall below the minimum to properly award a unit of credit as provided by Title 5, section 55002.5. (48 semester hours of total student work)

Contact Hour Analysis: The Office of the Vice President of Instruction will then need to conduct an analysis of class meeting cancellations to determine if the related class hours for course sections fall below the minimum to properly award a unit of credit as provided by Title 5, section 55002.5. If this occurs, the district will need to communicate to faculty methods to make-up lost instruction to at least the minimum level. Title 5, section 5502.5 states that the Credit Hour Definition is (a) One credit hour of community college work (one unit of credit) shall require a minimum of 48 semester hours of total student work which may include inside and/or outside-of-class hours.  Thus, out-of-class hours can make-up for the time the campus was closed due to emergency closures.

Making Up Instructional Time: When faculty make up the instructional time, the College/District does not need to provide the Chancellor’s Office with any documentation. However, they do need to document all the required information (dates, hours, attendance, etc.) and file it in the Office of the Vice President for potential audits by ACCJC, USDE, District internal auditors etc. Where faculty were not able to make up the instructional hours to at least the minimum level, the district Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs will contact the State Office of Educational Services and Supports Division to report all details.

Utilizing Distance Education (Canvas) for Make Up Contact Hours: All courses in Peralta Colleges have related Canvas shells for online instruction. However, not all faculty have been trained in online instruction as required by AP 4105 nor have all students taken online courses and thus may not be familiar with Canvas either.  Additionally, not all courses have Distance Education (DE) addendums.

In the case of emergencies declared by the Chancellor and Board of Trustees, the requirement for DE Addendums (AP 4105 Section I) shall be waived for the time period of the declared emergency only.

What can face-to-face instructors do now to prepare for the possibility of a campus closure?

Most important: develop a communication plan with your students.

CANVAS is the best way to communicate with your students. Login to Canvas, publish your Canvas course, and send a practice communication (announcement or message) to your students. Instructions attached.

You can also email students directly from the class roster in “My Faculty Center”

Remind students that the email address you have access to, may not be their preferred email. Ask for their preferred email or ask them to change their email preference in their Student Center.

Identify students who may have difficulty using online resources and consider alternate ways to communicate with them.

Make sure that any course materials on campus computers have been backed up and are available to you remotely.

Make sure you have all student work and grades.

Attend one of the workshops or drop-in hours for in-person assistance at your college.


Steps for Using Canvas During an Emergency Period

Using Canvas may be the easiest option for faculty during an emergency closure period. The State Chancellors Office allows for waiving DE addendums for courses that don’t have them and allows faculty who have not been formally trained in DE to convert their classes to an online format as a means of maintaining instructional continuity for students.

Please copy and paste the link.

https://peralta.instructure.com/courses/419/modules

  1. DSPS Students If students have DSPS accommodations, faculty are to honor this in the online learning environment. This includes, extending test time, adding captions and clips to lectures and more. Please visit for free links and information to ensure accessibility for all students https://cccaccessibility.org/
  2. Equity, Access and Online Learning It is important for faculty to mindful of the lack of access to being online that some students may have at home or by cell phone. Some may have access to the internet only by their cell phone but may not be able to complete papers this way. Asking your students about their internet accessibility in advance can help faculty find the best ways to support learning during an emergency period.


Utilizing Methods Other than Canvas for Making Up Face-to-Face Contact Hours

Confer Zoom via CCC Confer- Use your Peralta email address to set up free Zoom conference calls at www.conferzoom.org

Google Meet– Faculty can also use Google Meet/Google Hangouts to schedule online classes or meetings. You can visit meet.google.com.  Check this tutorial for further information.

Microsoft Teams- Teams is a fairly recent addition to the Office 365 suite, and it has quickly become a successful go-to application for group chat, one-to-one chat, video-conferencing with screen sharing, file sharing, and any other collaboration need. Teams is like a virtual office. You and your students can chat about work in real-time, share files and task lists, and easily fire up a voice or video conference that allows you to share screens, a digital whiteboard, and more! You can simply click the “Meet Now” button from any chat, or schedule an online meeting for later.

Emailing PowerPoint Lectures with Voice Recording- Information is coming!


Lab and Practicum Classes: Ideas for Remote Instruction

  • Hands-on learning experiences such as laboratory and studio courses are difficult to replicate in a virtual setting. When possible, labs and other hands-on activities should be delivered in the Distance Education environment. Instructors may need to consider alternatives, perhaps drawing on experience accommodating students who missed class due to illness or other major conflicts. Consider the following options if you are unable to teach in a lab as originally planned:
  • Provide an overview and review lab safety, a virtual tour of the teaching lab environment, an overview of projects and expectations for lab reports, and/or background reading for lab activities that will commence the following week
  • Ask students to engage with a seminal scientific article that describes the experimental approach they would have performed in the lab. You might ask students to identify its advantages or limitations, or consider new applications related to course content.
  • Explore existing virtual laboratory resources and videos, such as those from the Journal of Virtual Experiments(link is external)PhET(link is external) or iBiology(link is external), which may communicate content similar to what you had planned for students to experience in lab.
  • Provide sample experimental data that would have been generated during the lab for your students to analyze. You might then ask your students to develop a lab report or paper based on these results similar to if they had obtained the experimental data themselves.
  • Ask students to write out the process of the lab, as if they were performing each protocol step. For example, students could describe first one obtains X equipment, then measures Y substance, combines Y with Z, expects A to occur, etc. This approach gives students the opportunity to think through an experiment without physically performing the work.

The Office of the Vice President of Instruction will need to monitor class-meeting cancellations to determine if the related class hours for course sections fall below the minimum class contact hours (48) to properly award a unit of credit as provided by Title 5, section 55002.5.  If that occurs, faculty will need to consider methods to make up lost instruction to at least that minimum level.


Department of Education Recommendations Regarding Student Absence, Decrease in Units, and Financial Aid

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)

An institution’s SAP appeal policy (34 CFR § 668.34(a)(9)) must, among other things, describe the basis on which a student may file an appeal: the death of a relative, an injury or illness of the student, or other special circumstances. Circumstances related to an outbreak of COVID-19, including, but not limited to, the illness of a student or family member, compliance with a quarantine period, or the general disruption resulting from such an outbreak may form the basis of a student’s SAP appeal even if not specifically articulated in the institution’s SAP policy.

Financial Aid

Financial aid administrators (FAA) have statutory authority to use professional judgement to make adjustments on a case-by-case basis to the cost of attendance or to the data elements used in calculating the EFC to reflect a student’s special circumstances. The use of professional judgement where students and/or their families have been affected by COVID-19 is permitted, such as in the case where an employer closes for a period of time as a result of COVID-19.

In making professional judgement determinations, FAAs must obtain documentation and retain it in each student’s file. This documentation must substantiate the reason for any adjustment. Institutions are reminded that, regardless of how broadly an event may affect its student population, professional judgement determinations must be made and documented on a case-by-case basis.

See a complete version of the Department of Education’s COVID-19 guidance.



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  • Peralta Community College District

    The District comprises four colleges serving northern Alameda County.
  • Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs

    Dr. Siri Brown

    (510) 466-7218

    sbrown@peralta.edu

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