Valencia students will be able to re-take spring courses for free

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Valencia College

“It's been a stressful time and we really don't want any students making a decision under that stress,” Britt said. “We’re hoping that extending the time to make that decision will be helpful.”

Christian Casale, Editor-in-chief

In the face of physical campus closures and an overhaul of Valencia classes to an online format, the college has put forward plans for students to re-take their spring classes in the summer for free.

“This is something our student affairs team has put together as an option to try and help students impacted by the coronavirus and the move from face-to-face courses to online,” John Britt, the Director of Advising at Osceola Campus, told the Voice.

According to Britt, any student that wishes to re-take any “course or courses” they currently take can do so for free over the summer. In-person summer classes will be very limited.

The deadline to switch to a summer course is April 17, and students must contact a college academic advisor – as dropping classes is not currently available as an option on the Atlas Registration Cart. Courses currently unavailable over the summer will be handled on a case-by-case basis between the student and the advising office. 

If a student chooses to drop all of their courses for the Spring semester, they may need to repay a portion of their financial aid – according to the college’s COVID-19 Student FAQ

“We are really encouraging students to try these courses out first,” Britt said.

Britt’s office put up a webpage to answer student’s potential questions in an effort to encourage them to give the new Spring format a try. One page has sections to provide students with more information on Canvas – the college’s online learning tool. Another gives students advice on time and stress management, instructions on how to submit assignments, and study methods – such as the micro-actions strategy and the Pomodoro Technique. 

“It’s been a stressful time and we really don’t want any students making a decision under that stress,” Britt said. “We’re hoping that extending the time to make that decision will be helpful.”

Britt also encouraged international students to be in frequent contact with their adviser for the most up-to-date information. 

The status of film classes and other art programs is “a really tough question,” according to Jillian Szentmiklosi, the Dean of Students at Osceola Campus.

“Some faculty and programs have been creative beyond anything that we could have imagined and they’ve put together some really amazing program offerings in this environment,” Szentmiklosi said. “We had probably close to 95% of our classes move fully online when the decision was made. You still have that small subset of courses that were still challenging for the academic departments and faculty to frame it in a way that would work in an online environment.”

Szentmiklosi advised students in arts programs to stay in close contact with the professors and department heads.

“Nobody asked to go through this. Nobody really wanted to have to move into online,” Britt said.  “We recognize that we just wanted to make sure we, as an institution, [are] doing everything we could to help students.”