An hour ago, I completed a conference call with the Orange County Health Care Agency (OCHCA). There continues to be only four confirmed cases of COVID-19 and one presumptive case in Orange County. None of the cases are community-acquired. The University of California, Irvine (UCI) tested one individual and the local news has reported that the test was negative.
Any risk to the IVC community continues to remain LOW, however, we are currently preparing and planning for a "soft" closing of the college should that be necessary. A "soft" closing, which has not been implemented yet, means that all classes that can move into an online platform will do so in order to reduce the number of students on campus and in classrooms. A decision to initiate a "soft" close of IVC will likely be made jointly by the Orange County Health Care Agency (OCHCA), IVC Leadership, and SOCCCD Chancellor, Dr. Kathleen Burke.
While coordinated efforts are being made to prepare for a worsening scenario, please know that there is no one community that is at higher risk than any other. It is particularly important to understand that Chinese Americans and people of Asian descent are no more likely to contract person-to-person COVID-19 than any other American. As a community of students, staff, and educators, we must help stop any attempts at fear or isolation of any single race or ethnic group by sharing with others that being of Asian descent does not increase the chance of getting or spreading COVID-19. This is not just my message, but the message being sent by the Center for Disease Control (CDC).
At Irvine Valley College, we value inclusivity and respect for others. We cannot let uncontrolled anxiety or fear diminish our commitment to one another. One of the college’s priorities is to provide a safe working and learning environment for students, faculty, and staff that is free from bias or discrimination. IVC serves and supports a diverse city and region, and welcomes students, faculty, and staff from all corners of the globe.
Nevertheless, the college also recognizes that as people become increasingly concerned about the spread of COVID-19, there will be incidences of backlash, resentment, and xenophobia towards the Asian American population. It has been reported that Chinese community members and Asian looking individuals have already been targeted due to fears and misconceptions about the origins and spread of the COVID-19.
We know that some members of our community are feeling greater stress than usual, and I want to encourage you to seek out support and information from the many organizations on campus that are here for you.
Remember that we are here for you. If you are feeling overwhelmed, worried or anxious you can get assistance from the Counseling Center. Students interested in speaking with a counselor have the following options:
- Make a "Personal" counseling appointment by calling 949-451-5752
- Come to drop-in counseling Monday-Thursday from 8 am – 7 pm, or Friday from 8 am - 5 pm (drop-in counseling will not be available during IVC’s Spring Break)
- Email the Counseling Center at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you or someone you know has received mistreatment based on your race or ethnicity please let us know. You can report these incidents by contacting the Office of the Vice President of Student Services at 949-451-5515.
Through our individual and collective efforts, we can ensure that our campus community will remain safe and respected.
We got this...Together Forward!
Cindy Vyskocil, Ed.D.
Irvine Valley College