A cosmetology student practices using curlers on her mannequin's head.

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Del Mar College took action by extending spring break then transitioning all classes to an online format. However, for programs that relied on hands-on training, new challenges arose.

Some students were left to wonder how the semester would end.

Cosmetology major Brittany Rodriguez said she is unsure about her future. Rodriguez said that each week she needs to accrue 35 hours, which totals to 1,500 hours by the end of the third semester to graduate.

“I’m sure our instructors have done the best they can with the hand they were dealt,” Rodriguez said. “I am hopeful that I will not have to stay any extra semesters.”

Rodriguez said others in the program share her concerns.

“It’s really confusing and frustrating and I am not the only one of the cosmetology students to feel this way” Rodriguez said. “We are all confused and overwhelmed and stressed about the situation.”

The Cosmetology Department was not able to comment about the students’ situation in time for this publication.

According to Irma M. Bomer, administrative assistant of the Surgical Technology program, her department is doing everything it can to keep students on track.

“(It’s a) very unfortunate circumstances, but everything feasible will be done to keep graduating students on track,” Bomer said.

Acknowledging that each student is a different situation, Bomer said they use any form of communication necessary to keep their students on track.

“Utilizing any and all available media that works with each individual case,” Bomer said. “Transferring office phone to one phone line and that individual then routing out emails or phone calls to the appropriate instructor.”

Audrey Zaragosa, a level 3 nursing major, said one of the obstacles she faces is learning and understanding the semester’s material.

“Luckily we do have online success center that is being offered for tutoring,” Zaragosa said. “It is definitely not the same as when we had lecture for four hours each week and lab each week for four hours; that would help us understand the concepts more.”

Zaragosa feels compassion for the graduating nursing students who will be unable to partake in a nursing tradition.

“We have a pinning ceremony that comes right before graduation,” Zaragosa said, “It is a tradition of the Del Mar Nursing Program but unfortunately it will not happen this semester.”

Jennifer McWha, director of the Nursing Program, understands that students and professors face challenges, not only educationally.

“Some students may be facing unemployment due to the COVID-19 situation, which creates more stress and potential hardship,” McWha said.

The Nursing Program has a plan for students about their clinical rotation.

“Through state directives, nursing schools are able to have more flexibility with regard to clinical rotation requirements,” McWha said.

For those starting out in the program, the department is looking at possibilities on how to accommodate for this situation.

“The Department of Nurse Education is working with DMC administration on how to best approach clinical requirements during the upcoming summer semester if students are still not allowed to complete rotations in the health care facilities,” McWha said.

Student Government Association President Natasha Perez noted that patience is needed at this moment because it is not an easy transition.

“This new format is going to take some getting used to and just know that everyone is making some sort of transition right now,” Perez said. “This is new for everybody and you are not alone.”

Perez said anyone with questions regarding student resources can email studentgovernment@delmar.edu.

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