MSJC launches fall 2020 semester mostly online

James Comehn, 20, of San Jacinto wears a mask and observes social distancing markers while he orders books at the Mt. San Jacinto College bookstore on the first day of the fall semester. Comehn, a computer science major at California State University San Marcos, is taking some MSJC classes he needs to fulfill requirements at the four-year institution. Valley News/Mt. San Jacinto College photo

SAN JACINTO – Mt. San Jacinto College began its fall 2020 semester Monday, Aug. 17, with thousands of students enrolled in online classes amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

About 98% of MSJC’s courses are online this fall to help further reduce the spread of COVID-19. Hands-on courses – Career Education classes in automotive, nursing and diagnostic medical sonography, for example – will be held on MSJC campuses when necessary.

“We wish we could welcome all of our students back to our campuses right now,” Roger Schultz, superintendent and president of MSJC, said. “We ordered our campuses closed on March 13 because of COVID-19, and for the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff, we’ll remain mostly closed for the foreseeable future. Hopefully, we can welcome back our students in person soon.”

As of Monday, 15,630 students had enrolled for the fall semester at MJSC.

Diagnostic Medical Sonography students attend the Mt. San Jacinto College Menifee Valley Campus for first day of fall 2020 semester, including Ruby Aquino of Menifee, Andrea Garcia of Murrieta, Justin Jones of Corona and Audrey Wong of Hemet. Valley News/Mt. San Jacinto College photo

Those interested in attending MSJC should call 951-639-5313 or visit

Among the new offerings to student this fall is the MSJC apprenticeship program, which is focusing on automotive this semester.

Companies with auto maintenance and repair facilities are helping students who are looking for a career while wishing to learn necessary skills through a combination of structured on-the-job training and related classroom instruction at MSJC.

The apprenticeship provides a vital supplement to the training that MSJC’s automotive program offers to students, Bob Pensiero, MSJC automotive instructor, said.

Tracy Francis, chair of Mt. San Jacinto College’s Diagnostic Medical Sonography Department, welcomes students during the first day of the fall semester after taking their temperatures to maintain a safe learning environment amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Valley News/Mt. San Jacinto College photo

The automotive program is designed to give MSJC students the vast technical knowledge required by essential workers and plenty of hands-on experience with a wide variety of diagnostic and repair procedures. The apprenticeship provides the student with the opportunity to get one-on-one training from a professional technician in real-world situations.

“This allows the employer to ‘test drive’ a potential employee, which provides the student who participates in the apprenticeship with a major advantage over other potential applicants to be hired on a permanent basis,” Pensiero said.

Students and employers interested in participating in the MSJC apprenticeship program should email

Submitted by Mt. San Jacinto College.

Ruby Aquino of Menifee takes scans of a student-patient for hands-on practice while they’re partitioned by a plastic curtain as safety precaution for industry preparedness and safety during the COVID-19 pandemic. Valley News/Mt. San Jacinto College photo