How professors are helping students impacted by COVID-19


This image was made by Tahiti Salinas through Canva using Sketchify elements.

Lurdes Villalpando, Intern Reporter

During the pandemic, professors have tried to make assignments as flexible as they can while students deal with COVID-19 related issues. For biology professor Bita Bahrami, she made it so she wasn’t just an educator, but also a friend.

While students may not contract the virus themselves, Bahrami has been mindful of their family members. “I basically let the students decide when they want to come back [to class],” said Bahrami. 

She said people experience the virus differently and recovery times may vary. It would be unclear when a student recovers, so Bahrami told her students to let her know when they’re ready so they can arrange assignments afterward. 

“You have to be healthy first, and being a student comes second,” added Bahrami. This semester has had its ups and downs, but for Bahrami, she said it was important to have someone there to help. 

Like many other instructors at Cal State LA, Sarah Black, a communications professor, said she too received a few emails from students dealing with COVID-19 related issues. 

Black said some students in her class have gotten a COVID-19 diagnosis during the last half of the semester.

“I let them know that their health is the most important thing, so taking care of themselves, taking care of their families. And then [I] just offer any help that I could possibly give, along with extensions for any work in the course,” said Black. 

If students ask for an “incomplete,” Black said she will approve it. When they feel better, she said she will help them over the winter break with their missing assignments. 

Like Bahrami, Black is aware students might be taking care of family members who may have the virus.

She said that it is likely students will not be in a good state of mind having to balance their health, their family’s health and school.

For that reason, psychology professor Emily Chan said she continuously sends out reminders to her students about taking care of their mental health and providing information about Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS).

She thought some students have been overwhelmed with not only virtual learning, but also the effects of being isolated during the pandemic. 

“I tell them, ‘Personally, if you’re ever struggling with mental health issues, family issues or health, you can definitely talk to me,’” said Chan. 

Chan said she, too, has extended deadlines for some assignments to allow her students to catch up on other class assignments.

Just like her cohorts, she plans to ensure that none of her students fall behind.