West Hills Community College District has made the difficult decision to suspend its Child Development Centers through December 31 in response to COVID-19 safety requirements and budget reductions. Up to $10 million has been lost from the WHCCD operation budget as a result of COVID-19, as outlined in the Governor’s May revision to schools and colleges. WHCCD operates child development centers in six Valley communities.
“While we are acutely aware of the incredible importance of our child development centers to children, parents, and our employees, COVID-19 funding reductions require us to prioritize our core values as a community college,” said Kelly Cooper, Vice Chancellor of Education and Technology. “Before deciding on a substantial number of reductions, modifications, and suspension of services, we used a number of tactics to assist in defining our core mission and values:
· Quality courses and programs toward degrees and certificates
· Inclusive, equitable student support services
· Supplemental resources such as grants and categorical funding.
We remain acutely aware of the hardship that results from any action, especially on our employees, some of whom have been instrumental in establishing our reputation as a safe, caring environment and source of social, dietary, and physical health of children across our communities.”
WHCCD’s child development centers and campuses have been suspended or—in the case of the campuses—online only since March in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The decision to close the child development centers until December 31 is due to budgetary and safety concerns: a second wave of infections has been predicted for later this fall and many local K-12 schools announced their intention to remain closed until the end of the calendar year.
“For all of us, our commitment is the safety and health of our students, staff, and faculty, whether at the CDC or college level,” said Cooper. “The District continues to respond to options and opportunities to reconsider this decision in the weeks and months ahead.”
West Hills Community College District will begin its fall semester on August 17.