Local officials discuss how COVID-19 has impacted the community during Renegade Roundup

Angel Magdaleno, Reporter

The Bakersfield College President’s all-campus forum, with panelists that included government and community leaders, updated students on COVID-19, its impacts on the community, and the future of BC on April 13.

The panel of speakers consisted of California State Assembly Rudy Salas, Kern Community College District (KCCD) Trustee Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg, and Attorney at Law David Bynum.

BC President, Sonya Christian started off the meeting with statistics of COVID-19 cases from John Hopkins University. She also introduced the idea of BC opening once again. BC is planning to partially open for summer and fall courses of 2020. 

She said that BC is doing whatever they can to open up again while still maintaining their goal of flattening the curve. 

“We need to be diligent so that we don’t get that second wave of COVID-19 cases,” Salas said.

Salas spoke about funding and what is being done to help those in the rural communities.

Everything in the capitol has shifted from battles of law to COVID-19. Allocating funds has been a little difficult for California especially since the tax deadline has been pushed back. 

Something that has become principal that he, along with others in the state have been working on for years, was the Rural Broadband Initiative. “If COVID-19 has taught us that internet access will and has become a utility,” Salas said. 

Since the breakout of COVID-19 many businesses and schools have shifted to online format. There are people who have struggled because of the lack of access to the internet. The state is looking for ways to get internet access to those who do not have and need it. 

Gomez-Heitzeberg spoke about colleges in the KCCD and what is being done in their future. 

“Colleges were asked to revise budgets and prepare for different scenarios,” Gomez-Heitzberg said. 

She agreed with BC and its step to partially open the school for summer to classes with difficulty teaching online only, while maintaining their goal. 

Bynum focused on the effect COVID-19 had on small businesses. Bynum opened up by stating that he is the CEO of the Boulevard and spoke about how difficult it has been to get help for small businesses like his and those under Bynum Inc. 

Bynum emphasized the focus of the community should not be on the hurting economy but on other positive aspects in life. Bynum also added to take advantage of the extra time that we have from not driving around to places or working to spend time with family and those around you. 

“Find a positive opportunity during this time,” Bynum said.