On Wednesday morning, Milagro Jones, a student at the Los Angeles Institute Trade and Technology, logged in to his laptop from a one-bedroom apartment in southern Los Angeles and took an online course on human evolution. His 5-year-old daughter Lydia is playing near her home in preschool.

This should be the first day after the online course Los Angeles Community College District Announced Due to the use the new coronavirus, it will suspend most face-to-face classes.

To Jones' surprise, no one or even a teacher was online.

He said, "I don't know why."

Coronavirus communication is confusing in the largest community college district in the United States. Before the pandemic, less than half the teachers were trained in "distance education". Employees lack the ability to access the system to work from home. Not enough laptops for students and teachers to access online teaching.

Many employees, faculty and students the nine university systems have stated that they have not responded sufficiently to the virus.

"We were a bit caught off guard," said Deirdre Wood McDermott, a teacher public speaking and head of the Department of Language Arts and Humanities at Trade Tech. "We are trying to build airplanes while learning to fly."

The unbalanced response is disrupting the lives students who depend on campus, who not only rely on education but also basic services such as food, healthcare and financial aid forms.

The vast majority the 230,000 students in the region come from low-income families. Food and housing for many people are insecure. Estimate A quarter have their own children Take care. Even under normal circumstances, their ability to accomplish higher education goals is negligible.

District officials said they are following their emergency plans and agreements and regularly provide information to students, faculty and staff. However, they said that COVID-19 created a situation where no one could plan.

"The situation we are in is unprecedented," Prime Minister Francisco Rodriguez said. "It is totally wrong to say we have no plans for an emergency. It is right to say we have no plans for a pandemic."

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"We are changing with the environment," said Andra Hoffman, the chairman the board of directors. "This is … a challenge."

A COVID-19 response team was formed in the region earlier this month to develop an immediate action plan on health and safety and operational continuity. Officials have approved $ 450,000 in supplies and overtime for guards, purchased VPN licenses so more employees can work from home, and ordered thousands laptops. They also launched a new platform for online consulting three months in advance.

Initially, managers said that the university will start teaching online on March 18, but a few days later they voted to cancel the entire week classes and decided to take a spring break to give teachers more time to start on March 30 Teaching online.

Jones is not aware of the latest changes, which is why he was the only one who logged in on Wednesday.

"The response was confusing," he said. "Different teachers told me different things … you received one thing in the email and then it was different for me."

Angela Echeverri, dean of the region's academic academy and a microbiology teacher at the Mission College, said that only 2,000 of the region's 5,000 faculty and staff were certified for distance education.

"You can imagine how we quarrel here," she said. "I train 3,000 teachers a week-I can't even tell you how incredible this is."

As the coronavirus emergency intensified, group gatherings were restricted, and training itself was forced to go live.

A facilitator appeared on-site for training on Monday and said she was in a room with 30 to 40 other faculty members, including people who were clearly sick, without hand sanitizer.

Even if faculty and staff can eventually switch to online education, many students will still struggle.

"Some students see our community college as a safe place for them … related to where they get food, child care, and a sense of security and comfort." "No matter how we do … … provide an online platform where students still suffer from dislocations and trauma. "

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Teissy Angel is an undocumented "dreamer" student at Southwestern College. He is a full-time caregiver for adults with intellectual disabilities. She usually gets up at 6 in the morning, cooks lunch, and goes to school on campus. She then drove to Culver City and worked here from 2pm. Until 10pm every day.

Angel, 25, relies on the school library to access expensive textbooks. She also runs a student club that invites local activists and social justice leaders to talk to students. Most importantly, she helped set up the Dreamer Resource Center just like she did on campus, where she went to use her computer two or three times a week, printed course materials to read breaks at work, and participated in financial assistance seminars. Yes, legal affairs and stress relief.

She said that despite her computer and internet at home, "I can't sit down and do all the tasks at once." When she couldn't pay her Internet bill, she turned to Starbucks or McDonald's to use Wi-Fi, but because users were no longer able to gather in those locations, it was no longer an option.

"I'm worried I won't be able to pass my course," Angel said. Angel is currently moving to a four-year college as planned in the fall of 2021. Her professors seem to understand so far.

For some classes, especially in vocational and technical education, online teaching is simply not possible.

"In my area, in the end, you can only do a lot of things on paper, and you can only do a lot of things online," William Elarton-Selig, head of Construction, Maintenance and Utilities at Trade Tech, told an emergency board meeting. March 14: "You must be able to nail, you must screw the parts together … otherwise, (the student) will not receive any valuable education."

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At the same time, clerical and custodians said they felt the government had “abandoned” and were unsure of whether and where to work the guidelines.

Steven Butcher, the union's executive secretary, said: "My members call me,‘ Are we the only ones working today? ’

Staff are particularly concerned that they must take sick leave and leave if they stay at home, but local officials say no employees will lose their wages or be punished for staying home because of the coronavirus.

However, at the heart of the emergency was a 19-year-old LACC student at Southwest College, such as Em Owens, 19, who did not have internet in a studio apartment shared with her brother in Long Beach. Normally, she would go to the library to use Wi-Fi, but now she plans to rely on mobile hotspots on friends' houses or mobile phones, which is slow.

Rodriguez said the school district is working with internet companies and philanthropists to make the internet and laptops free for students in need.

Jones, a single parent in trade technology training, illustrates the struggles and determination of many. He has been homeless since his birth. He received a GED in 2011 while in prison.

Jones, 30, started working at Trade Tech last summer as a full-time student and plans to earn an associate degree and move to a four-year university in 2021. His financial aid includes tuition, but he relies on savings and other aid to pay for his expenses.

He was recently eligible for a program that comes with grants to buy books and 20 monthly meal tickets-but now the bookstore and cafeteria are closed. He hopes to complete the work-study program on campus this semester. He hopes to make $ 14 an hour, but now this has been put on hold.

"It's an obstacle," he said.

But Jones didn't hesitate. "I went through a lot of things," he said. "I'm smart, I'm resilient. I won't let anything stand in my way."