May 5, 2020
In times of crisis, the character and very foundations of society can be tested severely. I am proud to say that the students, faculty, staff, and administrators across the Kern Community College District should be commended for their patience, fortitude, collegiality and perseverance as we all navigate the changes forced upon us by the coronavirus pandemic.
The Kern Community College District and our Board of Trustees continue to work to ensure the best possible outcomes for the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff as well as the forward progress of our students’ education. In spite of the major shift from in-person to online educational opportunities, our students are still learning the vital skills and information they need for a bright future. We are pleased to be able to continue providing an education to our 31,000 students.
I assure you that we are diligently and carefully considering the best options for the 2020 summer and fall semesters, as well as the addition of courses that will help those who have lost their jobs due to closure pivot to a new career with updated and pertinent skills. We are also closely monitoring state and federal information to best position our colleges and students for moving forward without undue or oppressive financial burdens.
The District will face many challenges in the near future due to the pandemic’s impact on our fellow citizens and the national and state economies. However, based on the work and efforts shown by all KCCD constituents since March, I am confident of positive results as we continue to move forward in the current situation. Although we do not know the length of time or the breadth of changes that will take place, I assure you that in the end, we will be better teachers, students, workers, family members, and citizens than we were before. This hardship is temporary, and the District and Colleges will persevere and use these experiences to benefit our families, communities, and society.
Wishing you a restful and enjoyable summer.
Stay safe, stay healthy!Tom Burke
March 20, 2020
The Board of Trustees held a Special Meeting yesterday and passed a Resolution Declaring Emergency Conditions Exist at KCCD and Authorization to Take Action Related to COVID-19. The Trustees expressed their support and appreciation for the efforts everyone is making during this transition.
All KCCD locations (BC, CC, PC and DO) have or are in the process of suspending all on-site functions that can be performed remotely. Many employees are transitioning to remote work. Only employees who are required to perform essential operations and support requiring District on site infrastructure will be at our work locations and many of those employees will be on a hybrid schedule, only onsite when necessary.
For faculty, staff, administrators and student workers, your supervisor and campus leadership will provide you with details, and work with all employees to establish remote work or alternate schedules, along with staffing needed to maintain essential operations and support. We recognize that working remotely will result in work being different in many instances. You will be provided information and support to help this transition. Thank you for your cooperation as we reduce the number of employees at our locations.. By reducing the number of employees on site and alternating their schedules, KCCD is doing our part to recognize the recommendation of social distancing and protect our staff and students from COVID-19.
All employees faculty, staff, administrators and student workers, whether working on-site or working remotely from home, will continue to get paid for normal work hours throughout the duration of this situation. Details and work plans currently taking place and moving forward will be communicated directly to you by your supervisor.
Administration and/or your department managers will be sending out information on a routine basis as new information becomes available. Now that we have the majority of our staff and faculty working remotely, I believe we are entering a phase of stability regarding KCCD’s response to this emergency. These are unprecedented times and KCCD and all of its campuses have risen to the occasion. I want to thank each and every one of you for making this conversion to a virtual District and College extremely successful. I am proud to be your Chancellor.
In order to comply with the explicit declarations of Federal, State, and County officials and to further act in accord with the known and accepted scientific efforts to mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 virus, the following guidelines are provided to District Managers, Supervisors, and Employees. It is desired that to the greatest extent possible, District operations are accomplished by having employees work remotely from home (telecommute) beginning Wednesday, March 18. Remote work will continue based on the evolving COVID-19 situation and we will communicate this to you through your campus administration.
The colleges and District Office have identified the essential functions and essential personnel needed to maintain basic operations.
All KCCD locations (BC, CC, PC and DO) have suspended all non-essential on-campus/site functions. Many employees have transitioned to working remotely. Only employees who are required to maintain essential operations and support will be on locations.
For faculty, staff , and student workers, your supervisor and campus leadership have provided the details and been working with all employees to establish remote work or alternate schedules and have identified staffing needed to maintain essential operations and support. We recognize that working remotely will result in work being different in many instances. You have been provided information and support to help this transition. Thank you for your cooperation as we reduce the number of employees on at our locations.
All employees (faculty, staff , and student workers, whether working on-site or working remotely from their home, will continue to get paid for their normal hours throughout the duration of this situation. Details and work plans now and moving forward will be communicated directly to employees by their supervisors.
Supervision/Management, in discussion and communication with each employee will determine the extent of remote work or telecommuting from home versus essential work on-site on a regular or alternate schedule. Some employees may be required to work both remotely and on-site on a rotating basis.
The District has accepted the recommendation of Governor Newsome and until further notice, employees over 60 years old and/or those who have verified health conditions that cause increased vulnerability to COVID-19 are to be off-site and, if possible, working from home. Please reference the “Working Remotely from Home” section above.
Should you have any questions or comments regarding any of the foregoing, or any questions as to what changes are occurring as the District copes with the impacts of the COVID-19 virus, please do not hesitate to contact your campus or the District Human Resources Department.
March 4, 2020
Students, Faculty, and Staff:
We understand your concerns related to the Coronavirus and would like you to know that we are meeting with Bakersfield, Cerro Coso and Porterville colleges’ leadership teams to stay informed and discuss action plans in the event the Coronavirus is detected in any of the counties we serve.
Your health and safety is of primary concern to not only me, but also the Board of Trustees, District and College leadership.
As of today, March 4, 2020, there are no school closures in California; and Bakersfield, Cerro Coso and Porterville colleges are open. Officials expect the number of COVID-19 cases to rise in California with cases already increasing in other parts the United States. We are maintaining close, regular contact with state and Kern County public health officials to stay informed.
The most important thing you can do is to be actively informed. There is no vaccine currently available to prevent the Coronavirus but you can take preventative steps, such as:
Handwashing can help prevent illness. It involves five simple and effective steps (Wet, Lather, Scrub, Rinse, Dry) you can take to reduce the spread of illness so you can stay healthy. Regular handwashing is one of the best ways to remove germs, avoid getting sick, and prevent the spread of germs to others. It’s quick and simple and can keep us all from getting sick. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
If students have questions or concerns they can visit the College Health Centers at Bakersfield and Porterville College. Students at Cerro Coso College or outlying campuses should visit any nearby urgent care. Whether you are a student, faculty, or staff, if you feel sick, you should contact your health provider immediately. We want you to be appropriately cared for.
We will be updating this page as needed. Stay informed with this changing situation. Know that we will be working to get you the most current information available in this rapidly changing situation. We ask that you remain flexible as we process this situation and collaborate together in making important decisions to keep our students, faculty, and staff safe.
CDC is responding to an outbreak of respiratory disease caused by a novel (new) coronavirus that was first detected in China and which has now been detected in 60 locations internationally, including in the United States. The virus has been named “SARS-CoV-2” and the disease it causes has been named “coronavirus disease 2019” (abbreviated “COVID-19”).
On January 30, 2020, the International Health Regulations Emergency Committee of the World Health Organization declared the outbreak a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC). On January 31, 2020, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex M. Azar II declared a public health emergency (PHE) for the United States to aid the nation’s healthcare community in responding to COVID-19.
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in people and many different species of animals, including camels, cattle, cats, and bats. Rarely, animal coronaviruses can infect people and then spread between people such as with MERS-CoV, SARS-CoV, and now with this new virus (named SARS-CoV-2).
The SARS-CoV-2 virus is a betacoronavirus, like MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV. All three of these viruses have their origins in bats. The sequences from U.S. patients are similar to the one that China initially posted, suggesting a likely single, recent emergence of this virus from an animal reservoir.
Early on, many of the patients at the epicenter of the outbreak in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China had some link to a large seafood and live animal market, suggesting animal-to-person spread. Later, a growing number of patients reportedly did not have exposure to animal markets, indicating person-to-person spread. Person-to-person spread was subsequently reported outside Hubei and in countries outside China, including in the United States. Some international destinations now have apparent community spread with the virus that causes COVID-19, meaning some people have been infected who are not sure how or where they became infected. Learn what is known about the spread of newly emerged coronaviruses.
Current understanding about how the virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) spreads is largely based on what is known about similar coronaviruses. COVID-19 is a new disease and there is more to learn about how it spreads, the severity of illness it causes, and to what extent it may spread in the United States.
The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.
These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.
How easily a virus spreads from person-to-person can vary. Some viruses are highly contagious (spread easily), like measles, while other viruses do not spread as easily. Another factor is whether the spread is sustained. The virus that causes COVID-19 seems to be spreading easily and sustainably in the community (“community spread”) in some affected geographic areas. Community spread means people have been infected with the virus in an area, including some who are not sure how or where they became infected.
Outbreaks of novel virus infections among people are always of public health concern. The risk from these outbreaks depends on characteristics of the virus, including how well it spreads between people, the severity of resulting illness, and the medical or other measures available to control the impact of the virus (for example, vaccine or treatment medications). The fact that this disease has caused illness, including illness resulting in death, and sustained person-to-person spread is concerning. These factors meet two of the criteria of a pandemic. As community spread is detected in more and more countries, the world moves closer toward meeting the third criteria, worldwide spread of the new virus.
While there is still much to learn about the unfolding situations in California, Oregon and Washington, preliminary information raises the level of concern about the immediate threat for COVID-19 for certain communities in the United States. The potential public health threat posed by COVID-19 is very high, to the United States and globally.
At this time, however, most people in the United States will have little immediate risk of exposure to this virus. This virus is NOT currently spreading widely in the United States. However, it is important to note that current global circumstances suggest it is likely that this virus will cause a pandemic. This is a rapidly evolving situation and the risk assessment will be updated as needed.
Current risk assessment:
CDC has developed guidance to help in the risk assessment and management of people with potential exposures to COVID-19.
More cases of COVID-19 are likely to be identified in the coming days, including more cases in the United States. It’s also likely that person-to-person spread will continue to occur, including in communities in the United States. It’s likely that at some point, widespread transmission of COVID-19 in the United States will occur.
Widespread transmission of COVID-19 would translate into large numbers of people needing medical care at the same time. Schools, childcare centers, workplaces, and other places for mass gatherings may experience more absenteeism. Public health and healthcare systems may become overloaded, with elevated rates of hospitalizations and deaths. Other critical infrastructure, such as law enforcement, emergency medical services, and transportation industry may also be affected. Health care providers and hospitals may be overwhelmed. At this time, there is no vaccine to protect against COVID-19 and no medications approved to treat it. Nonpharmaceutical interventions would be the most important response strategy.
Reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death for confirmed coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure*:
Call your healthcare professional if you develop symptoms, and have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19 or if you have recently traveled from an area with widespread or ongoing community spread of COVID-19.
There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:
There is no specific antiviral treatment recommended for COVID-19. People with COVID-19 should receive supportive care to help relieve symptoms. For severe cases, treatment should include care to support vital organ functions. People who think they may have been exposed to COVID-19 should contact their healthcare provider immediately.
The Kern County Public Health Services Department has been working diligently to help ensure the community is prepared to respond to any public health threat from the novel coronavirus. The health department has been monitoring return travelers, and working closely with the CDC, the California Department of Public Health and with local community partners to ensure that information is received in a timely manner and that local partners have all the tools needed to implement plans to respond to potential COVID-19 infections. There are no specific individual prevention measures for this illness so following general prevention practices are a good way to reduce risk of illness:
For more in-depth information and to stay up-to-date with current conditions please visit the Kern County Public Health website at https://kernpublichealth.com/2019-novel-coronavirus/