Moorpark College aims to provide students with necessary resources despite COVID-19 closures

Student+worker+Carissa+Fernandez+maintains+her+position+in+the+Moorpark+College+library+one+day+after+student+workers+were+permitted+to+not+attend+work%2C+on+Tuesday%2C+March+17.+Fernandez+is+a+biology+major.+Photo+credit%3A+Evan+Reinhardt

Student worker Carissa Fernandez maintains her position in the Moorpark College library one day after student workers were permitted to not attend work, on Tuesday, March 17. Fernandez is a biology major. Photo credit: Evan Reinhardt

By Morgan Ellis

As Moorpark College remains closed as a necessary measure to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, faculty and staff still want students to be able to take advantage of all the same resources that the campus usually offers.

Similar to the transition from face-to-face classes to virtual, many of Moorpark’s specialized offices, such as counseling, EOPS, the Health Center and the Writing Center, are taking on the challenge of making their extensive lists of services available via phone call, email, or in some cases, through Conferzoom or Cranium Cafe.

“I am very fortunate the EOPS counseling team are very advanced when it comes to online platforms and resources, so there was not a huge learning curve,” Marnie Melendez said, Moorpark’s EOPS coordinator.

“Just the systems I think were not ready for the volume of users,” Melendez said in regards to adjusting to the transition.

Few people remain in Fountain Hall including workers in the Outreach Center, Counseling and Admissions and Records, on Tuesday, March 17.

Few people remain in Fountain Hall including workers in the Outreach Center, Counseling and Admissions and Records, on Tuesday, March 17. Photo credit: Evan Reinhardt

Melendez also mentioned the potential challenges new students to the EOPS program will face, given that there were approximately 53 new students just this semester that now have to very quickly adjust to the remote functioning.

The Health Center also wants to be present to their fullest capabilities to help students with both their physical as well as mental health needs, especially in such a stressful time as this.

“We are working diligently to bring you Telehealth care so we can continue to provide you with care and support,” Health Center Coordinator Sharon Manakas said.

The Student Health Center remains closed to students on Tuesday, March 17, in the Administration building. Posters describing symptoms of COVID-19 are stuck up on the entrance.

The Student Health Center remains closed to students on Tuesday, March 17, in the Administration building. Posters describing symptoms of COVID-19 are stuck up on the entrance. Photo credit: Evan Reinhardt

Although there are no staff members physically on campus, there is still full remote access to all the same medical professionals, such as psychologists, nurse practitioners and M.D.’s. Appointments for mental health counseling and health care triage with medical providers can be made by calling (805) 378-1413.

In addition, the Ventura County Community College District is taking generous measures to ease the stress on students, making sure they still have access to internet and textbook materials without having to worry about the financial impact.

“The Federal Communications Commission has an agreement which states that providers will waive late fees, not cutoff service for lack of payment, and open hot-spots for increased accessibility to the internet,” the VCCCD stated in an email informing students about resource accessibility.

For textbook materials, VitalSource is providing access to an expansive collection of materials through May 25, 2020 when students input their school email address into the Bookshelf program, accessible with any digital device such as a smartphone or laptop.

Though campus is closed, Moorpark College’s food pantry Grab n’ Go Groceries provided by Ruben Castro Charities, is also still open to anyone who wants to stop by.

Alejandro Castro, the food pantry manager, assists attendees on Tuesday, March 17, at Moorpark College. Due to high demand, the pantry was forced to hand out prepackaged amounts of food in order to deter stockpiling.

Alejandro Castro, the food pantry manager, assists attendees on Tuesday, March 17, at Moorpark College. Due to high demand, the pantry was forced to hand out prepackaged amounts of food in order to deter stockpiling. Photo credit: Evan Reinhardt

“We’ve been trying to anticipate how many more people because there’s pantries closing all over,” Alejandro Castro, the pantry’s food manager said. “We are expecting more people and hopefully we are able to meet the needs.”

The food pantry is located at the back of the Campus Center next to the loading dock. At this time however, it will be operating as drive-thru only to minimize exposure. Visitors must drive up in a car, keep their windows rolled up and will be instructed to grab a pre-filled box of groceries. For more information and updates on the Moorpark College food pantry, call (805) 530-5536.

To continue to stay up to date on the coronavirus outbreak as well as the VCCCD response, visit their alerts page.