West Hills Community College District Response to COVID-19

In response to the COVID-19 coronavirus crisis, West Hills Community College District Board of Trustees unanimously approved a declaration of emergency at a special board meeting on March 17 and has adopted a number of changes in order to ensure the safety of students, staff, faculty and public health of all its communities, including transitioning most classes online and moving to full remote operations for many staff and faculty.

“We are fortunate that our organization is among the most adaptable in the California community college system, said Dr. Stuart Van Horn, WHCCD Chancellor. “We are dedicated to continuing to serve our students during this public health crisis. Continuity of instruction is essential.”

The majority of classes transitioned to an online format on March 18. The transition was nearly seamless as a result of West Hills investments during the past three years to implement web-based technology solutions to deliver education via online formats, train faculty on using new learning management systems, student-facing advising tools, and pioneering the use of no-cost open education resources in many classes.

The emphasis to adopt digital tools and change the culture of the ways the district delivers education to students has been instrumental in easing the transition to remote operations. West Hills students can meet with campus personnel online via Zoom, receiving assistance in advising, counseling, and financial aid and communicate synchronously with faculty as a result of the organizational commitment to implement 21st century teaching, learning, and service tools.

West Hills sites are adhering to guidance from the CA department of public health, the Governor’s office, and the California community college Chancellor’s office. Per state guidance, West Hills sites, including child development centers, will remain operational with essential critical services staff on campus.

Services Available On Campus
Social Distancing Procedures will be in Practice
March 23-April 24
Subject to change
Wi-fi access will be available on all campuses

West Hills College Lemoore
DSPS- Limited hours/by appointment only
Financial Aid/Admissions and Records
Library/Learning Resource Center- Wi-Fi access and computers available for students. Limited hours: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Child Development Center

West Hills College Coalinga
Library- limited counter service & computer/internet access for students
Admissions and Records/Student Services
Farm of the Future- limited to work not possible online
DSPS- limited/by scheduled appointment only   
Science Labs- limited to lab work not possible online
Residence Halls/Cafeteria – limited/servicing specific student population on an as needed basis
Financial Aid – by scheduled appointment only
Child Development Center

North District Center Firebaugh
Student Services -Limited Counter Service
DSPS-By Appointment Only
Lobby and Computer Labs/Access to Internet-Limited Hours/By Appointment
Child Development Center

“Our board remains committed to educational access and attainment as well as the safety of our students and staff,” said Stuart Van Horn.  “I want to extend my appreciation to all students to persist through this disruption and reach their goals and extend my personal thanks to all West Hills employees who have been resilient during this unprecedented crisis.”

The California Community College system, including West Hills, is included in the 16 critical infrastructure sectors as outlined by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.  Because of this, West Hills has planned coverage at all sites specific to essential campus services.  To ensure the safety of staff, WHCCD has implemented staggered work schedules and is requiring staff and students to social distance per guidelines provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  Many faculty and staff transitioned to remote work on March 20. Faculty and staff are continuing to serve students online at all campus sites.  All campuses are open for students who need to come to campus to secure help in person or use Wi-Fi internet connections.

West Hills will go on spring break from April 6 to April 10. Students are set to return to in-person classes on April 27, though the timeline may change as this crisis continues to evolve.

Updates regarding the district’s response can be found at https://westhillscollege.com/covid19/