BY CYNTHIA BOROMEO
CYPRESS CHRONICLE STAFF WRITER
When COVID hit it impacted everyone, including schools and its students. Many students were left without jobs, housing, and food. And with classes moving online, it has been challenging for students to learn and find a quiet place to study.
Despite the challenges, Cypress College has been pushing its resources in order to help aid students during these uncertain times. The unforeseen closure of campuses has affected students who do not have a computer or laptop to learn from home.
In this case, the Learning Resource Center (LRC) offers services free of charge to Cypress College students, faculty, and staff currently enrolled.
The LRC is in charge of lending Chromebooks and hotspots to students that need them. Cypress students struggling with classes can benefit from LRC’s tutoring services that have been shifted to an online format. Students can schedule a tutoring appointment or drop-in as well as reserving a virtual study room all from the LRC website.
In an effort to help students focus more on succeeding in school, and less on where their next meal is coming from, Cypress College offers Food Pantry services in an on-campus “drive-through” food distribution once a week each Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Registration opens every Thursday and closes the following Monday at 11:59 p.m.
California’s community colleges have hundreds of thousands of students who struggle to get food.
Cypress college counselor Maria Haro said, “We can use Cranium Café or Zoom for virtual appointments and phone calls to assist students as best we can. It’s through these appointments or online meetings, that we have been able to promote or refer students to various campus resources depending on their need.”
Cypress College officials have said they are working hard to identify areas in which they can provide support, not just on the academic end, but overall wellbeing.
The Health Center has virtual appointments for mental health counseling sessions, along with various weekly events ranging from stress management to mental health. “The Health Center is working hard to assist students who have questions or concerns related to COVID, while also helping students who find themselves overwhelmed by our current health, economic, education, and social climate,” Haro said.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Cypress College Financial Aid Office has been attempting to help students by providing federal and state emergency grants to students.
So far, the emergency aid has been available for eligible students in $500 grants per semester, through the CARES Act of 2020 and the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021. With the recent enactment of the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, more emergency aid is expected to arrive later in the Spring 2021 semester to continue the availability of direct emergency aid to students.
Since Spring 2020, the Cypress College Financial Aid Office has awarded 7,152 students $3,573,967 of emergency aid directly to students, said Director of Financial Aid Korey Lindley.
“The state has also offered the Disaster Relief Emergency Funds that have been used to provide direct emergency aid to undocumented students at Cypress College that have completed the Dream Act application,” Lindley said.
To add on, the Extended Opportunity Programs and Services (EOPS) offers resources that include: virtual and phone educational counseling, book service award for books online through the bookstore, priority registration for classes, virtual workshops and events, transportation assistance via gas cards, grants through financial aid and support staff assistance through Cranium Cafe, as well as referrals to on and off-campus resources for assistance with basic needs, CalFresh, housing and utility assistance, immigration and legal consultations, and mental health referrals.
EOPS’s program is designed to assist students who have economic, linguistic, and educational challenges. EOPS helps students succeed and enroll in higher education. At this time, EOPS is no longer accepting applications for the Spring 2021 semester. However, they will begin accepting applications on May 1, 2021 for the Fall 2021 semester.
Students, who are in need of money or food, have access to apply for emergency funds and sign up to attend food distribution events.
The Cypress College communication team promotes via email and social media all of the resources, events, and programs available to students. Most information is also available on the Cypress College website and through various programs’ social media.
The resources mentioned are available to all students who are in need of them. Cypress students can benefit from these resources to help make online schooling less challenging.