Bakersfield College plans for virtual spring semester


Photo courtesy of William Velasquez

Bakersfield College campus.

Amaya Lawton, Reporter

There is a possibility that the spring semester will continue virtually at BC, with COVID-19 cases continuing to rise in Kern County. Bakersfield College plans for the spring semester were based on the plans set by Governor Newsom, the number of cases before the semester begins, and the decisions of various college campuses around the state. The spring semester was scheduled to begin in January 2021.

“At this time, Bakersfield College is actively monitoring this situation in Kern and statewide and [remains] fully committed to complying with Governor Newsom’s Resilience Roadmap,” Bill Potter, Executive Director of Facilities and Planning, and Cindy Collier, Interim Director of the Health Center. “According to Governor Newson’s Resilience Roadmap, higher education may not reopen until we are in stage 3.”

There was a chance that there could be limited in-person interaction during the spring semester, according to the Bakersfield College website. If a plan occurred that allowed students to go on campus, various protocols would have to be followed to keep everyone safe.

“BC requires health checks which include temperature checks and review for COVID-19 symptoms or exposures for any on-campus activities,” said Potter and Collier

According to the California website, the Resilience Roadmap was a plan involving stages that were set to help the state control the spread of COVID-19. As of Aug. 2020, Kern County is on stage 2 which allowed lower-risk workplaces to remain open.

BC professors would like to teach face-to-face to have interaction in a classroom setting, but there are risks if that occurs too soon. BC’s Mathematics professor Tom Greenwood would like to be in the classroom again, but he also did not mind the spring semester continuing virtually if it meant the safety of his students and himself are being considered.

There was a chance that athletes would have an opportunity to continue their fall season in the spring with the semester continued online. The CCCAA was a sports association for the community college athletics in California and they created the Contingency Plan that had three different outcomes that can occur depending on the actions of COVID-19, according to the Athletics Communications Manager, Brandon Urry.

Many athletes will also see their season become shorter to have all sports offered at BC play in the spring. The fans of BC’s athletics will be able to attend virtually and support their favorite player, family member, or team.
“The health and safety of our students and staff are of the utmost importance,” Potter and Collier said. “As long as the threat of COVID-19 remains in our community, we will continue to implement protocols that prioritize safety in line with public health guidance.”

BC will follow the guidelines given to them by the state to monitor if the college can allow in-person classes or virtual.