Coronavirus Frequently Asked Questions


The health and safety of students, faculty and staff continue to be the College’s top priority. Given current health and safety restrictions, College of the Desert is offering both in-person and online classes during the Fall 2021 semester. A Fall 2021 Addendum of new face-to-face and in-person courses is available for viewing and students are encouraged to register and adjust their schedules accordingly. Student support services are currently being offered in a remote service environment; however, as part of the College’s phased return to campus, we anticipate some level of in-person support will be available later this Fall. Please continue to monitor our website and your College of the Desert email for additional updates as they become available.

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Synchronous learning

Is a general term used to describe forms of education, instruction, and learning that occur at the same time, but not in the same place. The term is most commonly applied to various forms of televisual, digital, and online learning in which students learn from instructors, colleagues, or peers in real time, but not in person. For example, educational video conferences, interactive webinars, chat-based online discussions, and lectures that are broadcast at the same time they delivered would all be considered forms of synchronous learning.

Asynchronous learning

Is a general term used to describe forms of education, instruction, and learning that do not occur in the same place or at the same time. The term is most commonly applied to various forms of digital and online learning in which students learn from instruction—such as prerecorded video lessons or game-based learning tasks that students complete on their own—that is not being delivered in person or in real time. Yet asynchronous learning may also encompass a wide variety of instructional interactions, including email exchanges between teachers, online discussion boards, and course-management systems that organize instructional materials and correspondence, among many other possible variations.

Required meeting days and times for all synchronous Summer Term and Fall Semester 2020 offerings are posted on WebAdvisor. Students will not be able to register for any two synchronous courses whose scheduled meeting days and times are in conflict.


This term refers to classes that meet both Asynchronous and Synchronous.

Hybrid Learning

Hybrid classes meet mostly online with a combination of Asynchronous and Synchronous learning and also require on-campus meetings.

Students who are registered to attend a hybrid/in-person class on the College’s Palm Desert campus will be emailed instructions for accessing campus and must follow the pre-screening / assessment protocol, prior to visiting campus.

College of the Desert’s Library Services team is available to help students access online classes. The popular “Ask a Librarian” chat box offers live help 24-hours a day.

  • Students are not required to purchase a parking permit for the fall 2021 semester. However, students must still follow all parking rules, including parking in designated student lots and using appropriate spaces.

  • Public Safety Officers will issue citations for vehicles parked in fire lanes, no placards for disabled parking, and extended time in loading/unloading zones.

  • Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, the College of the Desert is currently unable to print Student ID's which allow students to ride the SunLine Sunbuses for free as part of the Haul Pass program. To help with this situation, the College of the Desert will be providing free monthly SunLine bus passes to registered and enrolled students attending COD. This bus pass will allow students to make unlimited local fixed route trips, including transfers, any day of the week on the SunBus. If you need a bus pass, please contact the Office of Student Life at​ or 760-862-1317 for further instructions.

    • Only registered and enrolled students are allowed to receive a SunLine bus pass. Please be prepared to provide your name, student ID number and phone number.

    • One bus pass per month, per student.

    • The bus pass excludes the SunRide, the 10 Commuter Link and SunDial paratransit services.

All Student Services are available online through the College of the Desert website. Visit the College’s Student Services section to locate links to the online services you need.

From the California Department of Public Health:

COVID-19 is a disease caused by a virus called SARS-CoV-2. Most people with COVID-19 have mild symptoms, but some people can become severely ill. Although most people with COVID-19 get better within weeks of illness, some people experience post-COVID conditions. Post-COVID conditions are a wide range of new, returning or ongoing health problems that people can experience for more than four weeks after first being infected with the virus that causes COVID-19. Older people and those who have certain underlying medical conditions are more likely to get severely ill from COVID-19. Vaccines against COVID-19 are safe and effective.

From the California Department of Public Health:
People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. Anyone can have mild to severe symptoms. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

This list does not include all possible symptoms. Older adults and people who have severe underlying medical conditions like heart or lung disease or diabetes seem to be at higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19.

From the California Department of Public Health:
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends you get a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible.


  • Teenagers 12 to 17 years old must register for a vaccination clinic that offers the Pfizer vaccine and be accompanied by a parent/legal guardian or present a signed written consent from a parent/legal guardian and be accompanied by an adult.

  • The Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines can only be given to individuals who are age 18 years and older.

  • Vaccination of individuals younger than 12 will start as soon as COVID-19 vaccines are approved for them.

Please note the important distinction between exposure, where an individual may have been in direct contact with someone who is infected, and infection, where an individual has been confirmed by testing to have contracted the virus.

Masks will continue to be required in all public indoor spaces, regardless of vaccination status.

Face Covering Information from the California Department of Public Health

Anyone who is displaying flu-like symptoms should stay home and stay away from others as much as possible to avoid the potential spread of infection.

If you are displaying flu-like symptoms and believe that you may have been exposed to someone who is at a high risk for coronavirus and is displaying flu-like symptoms, then we encourage you to:

  • Contact your primary care physician (remember to call ahead and wear a mask when arriving at the health care facility)
  • Notify the Riverside County Department of Health Services at 951-358-5134
  • Call the College’s Health Center to report the condition at 760-776-7211
  • Reach out to your instructor or supervisor to inform them of your absence

COVID-19 testing is now available at multiple locations throughout Riverside County.

Find a Testing Location in Riverside County

Providing our faculty, staff and students with a safe environment for learning and teaching has always been a top priority at College of the Desert.

Pursuant to California Occupational Safety and Health Administration (Cal/OSHA), as well as workplace safety and health regulations in California, employers are required to take steps to protect workers exposed to infectious diseases like the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). Employers must prepare, implement and maintain a written COVID-19 Prevention Program. To read the precautionary measures that the College is taking, read the COD COVID-19 Prevention Plan.

As the COVID-19 pandemic evolves and changes, we will continue to monitor the situation and prioritize the health and well-being of our entire college community.

All college custodial teams are following best-practice guidelines and taking extra steps to deep clean our campuses, particularly "high-touch" points such as door knobs, railings, door handles, bathroom push doors and light switches. In some areas, we are utilizing a sanitizing fogger to help with thorough disinfecting. Custodial staff are also utilizing higher-strength cleansing agents on hard surfaces.

Updated August 5, 2021