South Florida’s large community colleges are canceling classes and preparing to transition to online learning, after facing criticism from students for not initally following other higher education institutions’ lead amid the ongoing spread of the coronavirus.
Miami Dade College classes are canceled Friday through March 29, during which faculty and staff will work to “transition to a remote learning environment,” the school announced. The college had already closed its medical campus near Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami after learning a visitor to a recent event there had tested positive for the coronavirus disease COVID-19.
Broward College classes are canceled starting Saturday through March 22, “except for field experience courses (i.e., health science clinicals, teacher education) and law enforcement academies,” according to a news release. From March 23 on, most courses will continue remotely.
“Broward College recognizes that a limited number of courses are not adaptable to remote instruction,” the release said. “Decisions about those courses will be made in collaboration with faculty and administrators.”
The College of the Florida Keys announced plans on Thursday to immediately transition to online instruction until at least April 6.
Palm Beach State College announced Friday that it will transition its spring courses to remote instruction. Staff and faculty were told to continue to report to their regular work location to ensure the continuation of services to students throughout the entirety of the spring semester.
All course instruction, including courses currently being offered online, are suspended for students effective Saturday, March 14 through Sunday, March 22. Remote instruction is scheduled to start on Monday, March 23.
Although leaders of Florida’s public colleges initially said they were waiting for a directive from the state, after facing pressure from students, some colleges have decided to act on their own. The state Department of Education, which oversees the Florida College System, has not yet instructed schools to close or switch to online classes.
That contrasts with guidance from the State University System, which directed its 12 member institutions to transition to remote instruction earlier this week. Florida International University and Florida Atlantic University implemented the changes immediately through at least the end of the month.