BY YAZMIN TORRES
CYPRESS CHRONICLE STAFF WRITER
Cypress College students have faced numerous hurdles as COVID-19 made its way into the United States in March of 2020. As classes transitioned to an online format, students have questioned just how effectively they will learn, as fine arts classes require more in person and hands-on training.
In a time of isolation and crisis, students have felt the impact of not being able to collaborate with their peers to share their passion for the arts, or perform in front of audiences.
“Our fine arts department suffered lower enrollment due to life challenges and the lack of in-person classes,” said Maha Afra, Cypress College dance department chair.
While Fine Arts students have had struggled because of COVID, students can expect virtual dance performances with photos, music, and media art, as well as virtual dance auditions in the summer.
It is unknown whether students will return to in-person classes in the upcoming Summer and Fall 2021 semesters, however, rehearsals and student run events will still run virtually. Rehearsals and concerts that do end up happening on campus will enforce strict social distancing in order to ensure the safety of staff and students. Professor Afra said that if conditions get better, students can expect to see quick changes within the arts department.
“Students have to see that the arts are valid, our current state does not mean our passion is gone, as we are creative, critical things,” Afra said.
The Cypress College music department is another group that has felt the effects of COVID-19, as they have not had the ability to perform or rehearse as a group. Cypress Jazz band has felt these repercussions, as they cannot come together to listen with precision to their music, and this is usually a staple in preparing for auditions.
“Our Fine Arts counselors are available to assist our students at any time, and we have a team that is working on guided student pathways, a roadmap for students to take,” Gary Gopar, music department chair at Cypress College said last week. These student pathways will guide students on a 2 to 5 year journey which will ensure their success in their desired major. Despite the difficulties the music department has faced, Gopar stated that certain classes may return to in person teaching this upcoming fall semester. “Students should remember to try to remain focused on the bigger picture and not lose passion for the arts, as it comes as a gift,” Gopar said.
As Cypress students are facing a global pandemic, limited financial resources, and the challenges of being in a lockdown; away from friends and family, the arts can become more central to a student’s life. Like many, it can provide momentary joy that nothing else can, whether it comes from music, dance, or art. Students can receive assistance at any time from the Fine Arts counselors and professors at Cypress College.