Letters to the Editor: Omicron is wreaking havoc on community college enrollment, says professor

Students walk on Los Angeles City College campus
Students at Los Angeles City College on Aug. 30, when some returned to in-class instruction.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: Those of us who teach at the community colleges are very concerned about the low enrollment reported in your piece on undergraduates staying home.

We planned the coming spring semester back in September and October, as we do every year. People were getting their booster shots, and the Delta wave of the COVID-19 pandemic seemed to be waning. We were asked to schedule on-campus classes.

Could we do it safely? Would students be happy to return at last? We hoped so. We scheduled more in-person classes and fewer online ones.


Clearly, with Omicron causing havoc, the majority of students are not ready to return to on-campus classes.

In Januarys past, our spring classes would be filling up nicely. Now, some classes have as few as one student registered. Those with low enrollment will be canceled, leaving students to scramble for other possibilities. Senior instructors may have to “bump” part-timers from their classes, and the bumped instructors will be unemployed.

Soon we will begin planning what to offer for the summer and fall sessions. Should we have more online classes? Will there be another variant throwing this all into disarray?

Your guess is as good as mine.

Leslee Koritzke, Altadena

The writer is a professor of psychology at Los Angeles Trade Technical College.


To the editor: The decline in undergraduate enrollment nationwide is not the disaster it seems.

A recent study by the Manhattan Institute found that the top 25% of those with only a high school diploma earned more on average than the bottom 25% of college graduates. It’s high time to acknowledge that a college degree is no assurance of a well-paying job.

Walt Gardner, Los Angeles

The writer taught for 28 years in the Los Angeles Unified School District.