SAN JACINTO – Mt. San Jacinto College provided students with computers and hot spots and donated high-demand items to hospitals as the college moved to open as an online institution Monday, April 6, following a three-week break in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
MSJC packaged the first phase of 50 Chromebooks and hot spots and sent them via overnight mail to students so they could continue with their courses online. The MSJC Foundation ordered about 200 additional Google Chromebook laptops for more students as the college transitions 99% of its spring semester classes online. Students recently took the MSJC Technology Needs Assessment Survey to help the college identify how to best help students succeed online and deliver the technology to students who had the greatest need for the technology.
“MSJC took a data-informed approach so we could deliver technology directly to those students who were most in need of access to a computer or the internet,” Roger Schultz, superintendent and president of MSJC, said. “We want them to stay at home and be healthy, but we want them to succeed online and complete their educational journeys. We understand not every student has access to computers and other technology when they’re away from our campuses. We’re glad we could help and we plan to help even more.”
The devices are on loan through the MSJC library tracking system, and students must return them by June 1. The loan may be extended for those students who continue with online instruction through the summer semester.
The college district, which has a robust Allied Health program, also donated gurneys, N95 masks, non-N95 masks, nitrile gloves and other equipment that are in high-demand to protect medical professionals as the COVID-19 crisis grows.
“We were honored to be able to help our medical partners at Riverside Community hospital and have offered to help other local hospitals who indicated they had a need for these types of items,” Joyce Johnson, executive dean of instruction at MSJC and a registered nurse, said. “The school closures mean our students cannot use this equipment at this time. We wanted to make sure we did our part to help protect medical professionals and patients alike during this pandemic. Once we are able to reopen, there will be funding available to replace the equipment for our students.”
Perris Union High School District contributed to the Chromebook loan effort with a donation of more than 50 recently retired Chromebooks to the community college to help its students.
“The Perris Union High School District is pleased that we were able to help out some MSJC students that may not have been prepared for the sudden move to distance learning due to the COVID-19 crisis,” Joseph Williams, executive director of technology for the high school district, said. “During this public health crisis, we hope these devices will not only allow MSJC students to access their coursework, but also serve as a vital link to the outside world during the stay-at-home order. PUHSD values our partnership and friendship with MSJC and we are pleased that we could join together to support students in need.”
The college resumed its spring semester online Monday, April 6. Forty percent of MSJC students were already in at least one online class and nearly 17% were in a hybrid class, which is part online and part face-to-face. Those students succeed at almost the same rate as their peers enrolled in face-to-face classes.
Submitted by Mt. San Jacinto College.