FHDA: Online classes key during virus scare
As we see coronavirus infections taking root on the West Coast, including Santa Clara County, local institutions have a responsibility to ensure they do not become part of the community spreading the problem.
At commuter community colleges such as Foothill and De Anza, students come to class every day from all over the Peninsula, mingle with other students in class, then commute home all over the Peninsula. The incubation period can be several weeks, and people can be infectious while asymptomatic. This means commuter students infected on campus have the potential to be super spreaders all over the Peninsula. Given what we know of the virus, being proactive during the incubation period is the best time to have a meaningful impact to dampen the spread.
There is an easy solution to minimizing exposure of students on campus, and preventing commuter colleges from becoming a source of proliferation of the virus.
The Foothill-De Anza Community College District has been a leader in getting classes online. Since many courses are already online, the hard work of creating templates is already finished. State rules may limit the number of classes that any one community college can have online, but if so, then state rules need to bend in the context of health emergencies. Failing to enable every class to be conducted online from here on out is needlessly placing a lot of people at risk. Small effort, huge risk if the effort is not made. Here the risk side of the equation entails potential loss of life. The calculus clearly suggests that moving all classes online, and doing so immediately, would be a worthwhile action.
Being proactive here could save many lives.
Lindell Van Dyke
Los Altos Hills
Segregation alleged at Bullis Charter School
Re “Other Voices” by Joe Hurd (Town Crier, March 4):
It’s a noble goal and the proper function of truly public schools to educate the entire student population, irrespective of race, disability, socioeconomic status or English-learner status. Unfortunately, the Los Altos School District detailed segregation at Bullis Charter School along these demographic lines in a letter to the Santa Clara County Board of Education in September 2019.
The relevant demographic comparison for Bullis Charter School is to the Los Altos School District in its entirety, according to Bullis Charter School’s own charter: “Bullis Charter School shall strive, through recruitment and admission practices, to achieve a racial and ethnic balance among its students that is reflective of the general population residing within the territorial jurisdiction of the Los Altos School District(.)” Hurd’s cherry-picking certain individual district schools for comparison to Bullis Charter School is nonsensical and just a distraction.
Even with its segregated population, Bullis Charter School’s academic outcomes do not generally exceed the excellent academic outcomes achieved by the Los Altos School District. Consider the data at needanotherlook.com.
Bullis Charter School is not a Los Altos School District public school, as Hurd claims. The district has no more control or transparency regarding Bullis Charter School than does any random district resident, which is none. While Bullis Charter School does take public funds, it is privately run by a board comprised of members who have appointed each other. Nobody on the Bullis Charter School board has been publicly elected by the Los Altos School District community, or even by the charter school’s parents. Public boards are accountable to the community.
Andronico’s: Why peddle polarizing paper?
The store once (and again) known as Andronico’s in Rancho Shopping Center has undergone another renovation, resulting in a beautifully stocked and arranged grocery section and an overall improved shopping experience.
One thing that hasn’t improved, however, is their choice to sell the Epoch Times newspaper, a pro-right wing propaganda journal connected to millions of dollars in Facebook ads promoting Q-Anon-type conspiracy theories.
When I asked the manager, he indicated he didn’t know anything about it, and that the decision would have been made at the Safeway corporate level. Calls to Safeway’s customer service line were not answered.
It’s a shame that everyone entering and leaving this carefully maintained store is confronted with an ugly reminder of the polarized times in which we live.
Safeway (owner of Andronico’s) spokeswoman Wendy Gutshall replies: “Our stores do not sell the Epoch Times. With the recent reintroduction to Andronico’s, it was an oversight at this location and we’re in the process of removing the newspaper.”
Community colleges shouldn’t offer housing
My brother Rich was booted from the City College of San Francisco, began working in a dead-end job, and there finally realized the value of an education. He apologetically went back to CCSF, seeking and receiving readmission. He went on to become an English professor at Chaffee College in Southern California.
Community colleges are obligated to admit all high school graduates regardless of academic accomplishments or dedication. But should these students qualify for housing?
Moreover, should some kid in Minnesota forego his local community college to move to this better climate, and then receive housing as well as education? Should we house kids from China?
Foothill-De Anza should stick to its basic mission, which is educating.