Small crowd on hand for City College coronavirus info session

A second informational meeting is scheduled for Thursday, March 12 at from 10-11 a.m. in MS-162


Aarmon Mehdiyan

Matilda “Tilly” Chavez told students, staff and faculty that coronavirus is ever evolving. Picture by Aarmon Mehdiyan/City Times

Lacey Stefano, Sports Editor

San Diego City College held a sparsely attended informational meeting about COVID-19 on Wednesday, March 11. While some concerns were alleviated, many questions remain unanswered. 

“I can’t emphasize enough, we are in uncharted waters,” said Dotti Cordell, director of Student Health Services, at the event that was also livestreamed online. “Things are happening now that have maybe never happened.” 

The coronavirus had just been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization, meaning that it has spread worldwide. Because of this, many universities and colleges have considered closing their doors and switching to completely online classes.

City College, along with the rest of the San Diego Community College District, is included. 

“Our biggest goal is student success,” said Matilda “Tillie” Chavez, City’s vice president of instruction. “At the same time, we also have to keep them safe, keep us safe. That’s what all of this is about.”

On Tuesday, the SDCCD chancellor released a statement informing staff and students that they will be seeking approval for an Emergency Blanket Distance Education Addendum from the State Chancellor’s Office for March 16 through June 1.

But administrators said it is important to note that this does not mean City College will automatically be closing its doors. 

“The purpose is that, at some point in time, to be prepared,” Chavez said. “If there is a time where we are asked to shut down, how can we continue to have business going and help our students at the same time?”

To view the SDCCD March 11 update, click here.

City College plans to reach out to its faculty and see what classes can easily be switched to online, which classes will need time to convert and which simply cannot be reformatted.

Any changes would be implemented incrementally in tiers.

“The purpose of the tier is this: What can be moved by X date? What can never move? Then we can get a better collection of what is really still on campus,” Chavez explained. 

With this, students should expect a gradual transition to fully online classes, if it does get to that stage. 

There are still many problems to face, should the switch happen.

As of right now, there is no clear path on how City College will help its students who don’t have access to technology, how this will affect academic credit, how this will impact student workers, or how possible reimbursements for everything from tuition and fees to parking permits will be processed. 

“We’re taking it step by step at this point,” Chavez said.

To keep up to date with City College and the Coronavirus, visit the City College website at