Cerro Coso requires vaccinations and masks this fall

Cerro Coso requires vaccinations and masks this fallCERRO COSO COMMUNITY COLLEGE announced that it will require all students and employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by November 1, 2021 and masks are to be worn at all times in its facilities.

The announcement follows the Kern Community College District’s Board Resolution 2021-01 on August 12th directing the chancellor to take any and all actions necessary to develop and implement a COVID 19 vaccine requirement for District employees, students, and others who access District facilities at any District location.  This includes all three colleges: Cerro Coso Community College, Bakersfield College, and Porterville College, and all campus locations.

The District is committed to providing a safe and healthy learning and working environment for students and employees. COVID protocols have previously been established to ensure cooperation with local public health officials to prevent and control the spread of communicable diseases. The tools available to combat the COVID-19 pandemic have evolved dramatically, including the development, approval, distribution, and broad availability of COVID-19 vaccines. Research shows that people who have not been vaccinated against COVID-19 are most at risk of infection, adverse health consequences, and further spreading COVID-19, including the highly transmissible Delta Variant, to friends, family, colleagues, and the community at large. Research also shows that the overwhelming majority of serious illness, hospitalizations, and death resulting from COVID-19, including the Delta Variant, are among the unvaccinated.  “It is just the right thing to do,” said Board Trustee Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg following the vote.

Consistent with recommendations and directives from the State of California and the federal government, the vaccine requirement will be phased in over time to allow employees and students to comply with the resolution and to address potential exemptions as allowed for in the resolution.   “It will allow us to continue to phase in our safe return to our campuses,” stated President Hancock in an email to employees and students.

The Vaccine Requirement will be developed consistent with applicable legal requirements, including exceptions for medical conditions and sincerely held religious beliefs.  Students not taking any face-to-face courses or accessing in-person student services, do not need to provide proof of vaccination.

Incorporating this direction from the KCCD Board, the College’s COVID-19 team will be publishing an updated version of the Cerro Coso Safe Reopening Protocols this week, with the intention of providing further guidance on workplace and classroom protocols for the Fall 2021 semester. In addition, they will provide ongoing updates as more details are made available.

Fall semester classes at Cerro Coso begin Monday, August 23.  Classes are offered in a variety of formats for students to choose from including Online and Scheduled Zoom, in addition to an increased number of classes being offered in-person on campus.

As an added safety measure, the College is requiring employees, students, and visitors to wear approved face coverings regardless of vaccination status when entering any Cerro Coso campus.

“It is through the addition of these safety protocols that we are able to continue our much anticipated return to face-to-face instruction and student support services,” concluded President Hancock.

Cerro Coso is hosting a Vaccination Clinic this week on Thursday, August 19th from 3-7 p.m. in West Wing 145A.  The clinic is open to all unvaccinated employees, students, and the public.

A copy of the full resolution and an associated Kern Community College District Q&A For the Vaccine Mandate is available at  https://www.kccd.edu/chancellors-office/coronavirus-update

For more information on the benefits, safety, and effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccines, please visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/vaccine-benefits.html

Story First Published: 2021-09-03