This article was contributed by Jan Janes with Gavilan College.
Gavilan College acted quickly to support student online learning after county health departments enacted shelter-in-place orders in March. Two technology distribution events at the main campus placed more than 100 laptops and Wi-Fi hotspots in students’ hands.
“Unfortunately, a few students from San Benito County were unable to attend because of transportation issues,” said Kyle Billups, IT director.
College staff contacted San Benito County students directly, and Gavilan loaned 30 laptops outside the Hollister Briggs Building Saturday, April 18.
“Students are feeling overwhelmed,” said Judy Rodriguez, Hollister site director. “One student said their chemistry class was really tough without classroom interaction.” With the laptop the student received on Saturday, they will be able to continue their work at home.
Another student was hoping to get a Wi-Fi hot spot, equipment Gavilan was not able to obtain.
“Currently the phone companies are backed up on orders because of the high demand,” said Rodriguez.
Instructors and counselors reached out to students as instruction moved to an online format, and the digital divide surfaced. Many students in the Gavilan district do not have access to personal computers or home internet connections. Previously, they could complete their work using college resources or at now-closed commercial locations offering free Wi-Fi.
Students can visit the Gavilan College homepage for more information about online student support, current information about COVID-19 and enrolling in Summer 2020 classes. Community members can view information about the Gavilan Student Emergency Fund for ways to support individual students.