More than 3,000 lab kits, ranging from blood typing chemicals to animal organs for at-home lab work, have been distributed to MiraCosta College students forced into long-distance learning by the COVID-19 pandemic, school officials said Friday.
The school’s classes were moved online because of pandemic-related campus closures.
College officials said moving the entire science lab curriculum online involved determining what the in-home labs would include and assembling some kits either on campus or purchasing them from a vendor.
Mike Fino, MiraCosta College’s dean of math and sciences, described it as “a monumental effort, a collaborative effort, among our faculty, instructional lab associates and administrative services professionals to ensure our students are afforded lab instruction across the sciences during this pandemic.”
Daria Sharko, a biotechnology major, said the lab kits “shows how much the college really cares about us and it does a lot for our confidence.”
A total of 3,023 students received lab kits to allow them an on-campus experience, along with the necessary protocols and safety recommendations. Getting lab kits to students involved:
- Collecting and organizing 9,504 components for 288 anatomy dissection kits, including 864 animal organs.
- Assembling and distributing 2,018 primary and supplemental lab kits to support nine chemistry courses.
- Assembling 7,500 different items for lab kits for 150 microbiology students.
- Assembling 5,500 components in 62 lab kits delivered to students for their biotechnology coursework.
- And assembling 256 blood-typing lab kits for physiology students.
Microbiology students were sent microscopes, while biotechnology kits feature the same equipment used in sophisticated lab analyses.
The college arranged to send lab kits to students through on-campus distributions and in-home deliveries for those without transportation. Kits were mailed to students living out of the region, including one student in Virginia and another in Belgium.
Raymond Clark, a MiraCosta biology professor, said replicating “a hands-on lab experience is a game changer for a lot of our students.”
“This transition to online courses has been really challenging for students for a variety of reasons, but overall MiraCosta College has done an excellent job leveraging our resources in helping students succeed, which is why we’re here,” he said.
Manesseh Park, senior science lab associate, said while it would be preferable to be back in a laboratory, “this is pretty close to the same experience.”
“I am so proud to be a part of this MiraCosta College family,” Park said. “These are different times, this is the new normal, and we’re all trying to adjust. It has truly been a rewarding, worthwhile experience for all the faculty and professional staff involved.”
College officials said $350,000 in federal CARES Act funding helped pay for the lab kits.
— City News Service
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