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Del Mar students frustrated by potential graduation delay

Del Mar College
Posted at 8:49 PM, May 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-06 23:37:29-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — All of us have been impacted by COVID-19 one way or another. However, many college students who were supposed to graduate this month, won’t be. What makes matters worse is they don’t know when they’ll be graduating either.

KRIS 6 spoke to a Del Mar college student who’s been impacted.

"We were so close to finishing,” said Pete Perez. “I mean it was right there, and then COVID-19 came around, and so that delayed everything."

Perez is in the school’s occupational therapy assistant program, a program which requires more than 300 clinical hours. Because of the virus however, medical facilities weren’t hiring students this semester, and students weren’t able to get the hands-on experience they needed to graduate.

"We're ready to graduate,” said Perez. “All of us, we're ready to help the people out. That's our field. We care about what we do. We want to help people."

In a statement from Del Mar College, officials said they’re forming a “return to campus” planning team. Members of the team will focus on how to bring back students to campus who were enrolled in programs that require hands-on training.

For students like Perez, who are anxious to walk across stage, he’s just hopeful a solution comes soon.

"We need to get past it someway, somehow,” said Perez. “And hopefully whatever they come up with will benefit us, because without the interaction with patients, without the hands-on, we'll be missing out on so much."

The statement from Del Mar also mentioned that some students may need to complete their programs over additional weeks this summer.

The full statement: Del Mar College’s key mission during the COVID-19 pandemic is to ensure our students successfully complete their programs. Due to national, state and local officials’ orders focused on health and safety protocols, the College adjusted how instruction is provided to ensure that both our students and employees remain healthy and safe during this crisis. This adjustment includes formation of a “Return to Campus” Planning Team with members focusing on how spring semester students enrolled in programs that require hands-on training may physically return to campus. These considerations include the standards that accrediting agencies require as part of course completion for students to meet testing, licensure and other requirements for certification to join the workforce, including the College’s Career, Technology and Allied Health programs. While some of our students may need to complete their programs over additional weeks this summer, Del Mar College is ensuring they receive the best education and training that meets the requirements and standards set forth by accrediting agencies and future employers alike.