Sonya Christian discusses “Back to college” during Renegade Roundup

Olivia Patterson, Reporter

During BC’s daily virtual forum on Wednesday March 25, many topics were discussed and the newest topic was the program launched by Bakersfield College President Sonya Christian, “Back to College.” 

“Back to College,” will allow new and current students to start a five-week-late-start class with the goal of getting the large amount of unemployed scaled up by obtaining an Associates degree and working their way towards a Bachelorette degree. 

Christian proudly acknowledged how BC has been ahead of the curve since January, by cancelling large events, practicing social distancing and three hours before Governor Newsom made his announcement, physically shutting down our last main campus. 

Since BC went from 18% online to 100% online in three weeks, the enrollments for these late start classes will also be online. 

The enrollment will begin March 30 through the BC Counselors who are heading the program: Victor Diaz, Jonathan Ward and Jo Ann Acosta. 

Through the John Hopkins University and Medicine dashboard, BC has been tracking the updated numbers and nearly half a million worldwide have been confirmed with COVID-19, the United States at 60 thousand and 16 in Kern County. Out of 300 tests in Kern County, 201 have tested negative

During BC’s Daily Virtual Forum, many wondered if the spring semester would come back in physical form on campus.

“Classes will be online for the rest of the semester..They are, however preparing for the summer semester and more will be discussed on that later..There will be no physical graduation on May 15, 2020 at the Memorial Stadium, but all are currently working on alternative options to postpone to a later time,” President Christian announced. 

Classes going online have created an untraditional atmosphere for healthcare students. For the healthcare students, instead of the traditional in-class hands-on-work, students who have not even completed their degree were requested by the hospitals to work on the front line and were hired on the spot Monday

Financial aid and loans are still in effect and may be a drawing point for many of the unemployed to go back to school. Jennifer Achan, Director of financial aid is working with all financial aid candidates. 

Professor Anna Collins, part of the Philosophy faculty faces similar challenges. 

“Missing the energy and banter of the students has had its difficulties,” Collins said. From the students, she has felt their depression and lack of motivation and has been trying to focus on increasing engagement and creativity in teaching her content because of not being able to be physically present. 

Trustee Abalog is optimistic and believes that by going through this difficult time BC will be better prepared in the future.