As the coronavirus continues to spread worldwide, the people of Tehachapi continue to hope for the best and prepare for the worst.
The good news is that public health officials stated there are no known cases of coronavirus in Kern County as of a Monday update.
Gov. Gavin Newsom urged Californians to follow public health directives and avoid large gatherings.
So, what does that mean for Tehachapi?
Many community events, meetings and entertainment venues report cancellations in the interest of public safety, including the following:
Tehachapi Unified School District
In an important message on the TUSD website dated Monday, all TUSD schools were closed on Monday due to a winter storm warning for potential snow and ice.
On Sunday, Kern County Superintendent of Schools Mary Barlow and Matt Constantine of Kern County Public Health Services issued the following statement: "Although there have been no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Kern County, we are recommending that all Kern County K-12 schools, preschools, and charter schools close temporarily, no later than the close of school on Wednesday, March 18, 2020. We are further recommending that Kern County public schools plan to reopen no earlier than Tuesday, April 14, 2020."
A spokesman clarified that was a mandate.
According to Tehachapi Unified School District Superintendent Stacey Larson-Everson, TUSD schools will close Wednesday and the district anticipates reopening on Tuesday, April 14.
"I understand how frustrating, confusing and concerning this community-wide COVID-19 event is. As we transition over the next two days to an extended school closure, additional information will be forthcoming," the superintendent's statement on Sunday said.
The full memorandum can be found at teh.k12.ca.us.
Larson-Everson said at a Monday emergency board meeting that the district, along with many other school districts, is waiting on information from Newsom’s office on how to further address the coronavirus.
Staff are planning and assessing which strategies are available to help students continue their education remotely.
The district will send a survey to parents with the intention of gathering information on whether students have access to electronic devices, connectivity and how to best communicate with teachers.
Larson-Everson said the district realizes that parents depend on the district to supervise their children before and after regular school hours, and provide meals. However, direction on how to address supervision before or after school and child care, not in the realm of regular official school hours, is not clear.
The district hopes to have more information from Newsom’s office to address parents’ needs to go to work and not leave their children unsupervised.
“For us to move forward and talk with our staff, we need that information,” the superintendent said.
Teachers will continue to be paid during this time. Grant funding is expected not to be stopped and school days lost due to canceling of school will not have to be made up, as understood at this time, added Larson-Everson.
Tehachapi Senior Center
According to Lewis Brown, Senior Center president, the Tehachapi Senior Center will be closed for all activities until further notice. Meals will still be served as bag lunches, and must be picked up daily. Individuals who wish to have a bag lunch must call in at 822-6255 and request them. The Meals on Wheels program will continue by calling 256-0557.
Tehachapi Railroad Depot Museum
In a news release issued Monday, the Tehachapi Railroad Depot Museum announced it will close temporarily until further notice. Staff will reassess the situation weekly and "open when it is prudent to do so."
• Fiddlers Crossing announced the cancellation of all concerts through April, including Wednesday Open Mics.
• On Monday morning, it was announced that the 36th Annual Bear Valley Springs Cultural Art Show will be postponed until further notice.
• The Greater Tehachapi Chamber of Commerce announced it has canceled all monthly luncheons through the end of April and will not be scheduling any ribbon-cuttings or other meetings during this time.
• The Tehachapi Mountain Democratic Club meeting for April 2 has been canceled.
• Valley Strong Credit Union announced it would reschedule its financial workshops.
• The California High-Speed Rail Authority board meeting of March 17 will be conducted via webcast only at HSR.ca.gov.
• All community group meetings held at Adventist Health Tehachapi Valley Hospital have been canceled at this time, including the upcoming Prostate Cancer Support Group meeting. For information on the Prostate Cancer Support Group, call 771-8603 and leave your name and number.
• The Kern County Genealogical Society's program meetings at the Beale Memorial Library in Bakersfield have been canceled through the end of April and will reopen May 4.
Tehachapi Police Department
In a news release issued Thursday afternoon, the Tehachapi Police Department announced it will continue to respond to all calls for service.
However, individuals who are calling to report an incident that is not life-threatening and not in progress are encouraged to use the online reporting system at https://www.liveuptehachapi.com/313/Online-Reporting-System.
The news release read, "Out of an abundance of caution, the Tehachapi Police Department, working in conjunction with local law enforcement agencies, is implementing new procedures in response to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. The purpose is to ensure the health and safety of our community as public safety is our number one priority.
"The Tehachapi Police Department and other law enforcement agencies have procedures in place to provide mutual aid on a local and state level should a law enforcement agency have staffing issues due to illness. We are requesting the public’s cooperation when they call emergency services to alert us if they have symptoms consistent with COVID-19 so we can have an appropriate response."
For non-emergencies, call the TPD Communications Center at 822-2222.
Stallion Springs Community Services District and Police Department
In a news release issued March 13, the Stallion Springs CSD announced it will be closing the front lobby area to the public until further notice. For assistance, call 822-3268, Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.
The Stallion Springs Police Department is asking the public to use the online reporting system or contact the dispatch center and an officer will field your call without having physical contact for the safety of the public and officers. The non-emergency number is 861-3110. Online reporting system is stallionspringscsd.com.
Kern County Fire Department
In news release issued Thursday, Chief David Witt of KCFD announced that, until further notice, all non-emergency community event support, ride-alongs and station tours have been suspended.
"Please be assured that all fire department activity related to 911 emergencies is ongoing," Witt wrote.
Tehachapi is not immune to the toilet paper hoarding phenomena. After calling all major store chains in Tehachapi, including Walmart, Savemart, Albertsons and Home Depot, Tehachapi News learned there was no bathroom tissue in stock as of Friday afternoon. Limited supplies of hand sanitizer were available at Home Depot.
Researching Amazon.com, Tehachapi News found that brands such as Charmin, Angel Soft, Quilted Northern and Cottonelle are reportedly out of stock, at least as of Friday. Some lesser-known brands appear to be available, but can be expensive. Face masks and hand sanitizer appear to be available online.
On Sunday, President Donald Trump urged Americans not to hoard groceries or other supplies in panic over the coronavirus pandemic.
“You don’t have to buy so much,” the president said. “Take it easy. Just relax. There’s no need for anybody in the country to hoard essential food supplies.”
Cara Jackson contributed to this report.