A Community Memo: COVID-19


Office of Programs

March 15, 2020

To our community,

Our team at Valley Scholars College Initiative is closely monitoring news about COVID-19, including campus policies from our College Fellows’ college administrations. We understand that there will likely be impacts to both our College Fellows’ academic work and to our Student Fellows’ college application process during this time. We want to make sure that our Fellows have the support they need to navigate any changes that may arise.

Below we have outlined several notes about immediate program changes. These are likely to evolve and we will stay in touch with any updates as they arise.

What Will Change This Spring

All workshops programs have been transformed into online webinars to ensure that we are prepared in case COVID-19 continues to spread into the summer of 2020. We will reevaluate this policy come late May 2020.

Our staff will not conduct any in-person outreach efforts in our community until further notice. We will reevaluate this policy come late May 2020.

What Will Remain This Spring

Even as we make these adjustments, Valley Scholars College Initiative’s support of our College and Student Fellows will continue. College Fellows, please review these reminders as you schedule your time with your Student Fellows.

Remember that your own health and well-being is a priority. Should you be unable to meet with your students for any reason (such as access to resources, personal health, need to reassess your workload, etc.) please let the Director of the Fellows Program know so that we can support you and your students. Should any challenges arise that may disrupt your plan to connect with your Student Fellow, please alert your Student Fellow right away.

Given that our work is entirely virtual, you are still required to abide by the FellowPath timeline. Please plan to meet with your new Student Fellows as you receive pairing notifications. This will help them remain engaged and reassured amid changing circumstances.

As much as possible, monitor how circumstances may influence you or your Student Fellow’s participation in mentoring sessions by committing to active follow ups (video conference, text, email, etc.). Let the Director of the Fellows Program know right away if you encounter any of the following: you do not hear from your Student Fellow after two or more attempts, you learn from your Student Fellow that their ability to participate is limited due to their region’s virus response plan, or you learn that your Student Fellow may not be able to participate in sessions for some amount of time.

Some Tips for our College Fellows

If our College Fellows have any personal circumstances during this time that may interfere not only with their ability to continue mentoring, but that also impact their well-being (such as access to housing, finances, other needs) we advise that they contact their college/university’s student life office or administrator. We encourage our College Fellows to prioritize their well-being, health, and safety.

I ask us all to take responsibility for our own actions and help others as well, as we live and work together through this pandemic.

The changing circumstances day to day may be unsettling for all our community members and we encourage our Fellows to prioritize self-care and personal safety. As always, please let us know how we can support you.

In community,

Lauren Machado

Vice President, Programs