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Cerro Coso Community College offers classes in Tehachapi.

Cerro Coso Community College announced that it will require all students and employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by Nov. 1 and masks are to be worn at all times in its facilities.

The announcement follows the Kern Community College District’s Board Resolution 2021-01 on Aug. 12 directing the chancellor to take any and all actions necessary to develop and implement a COVID-19 vaccine requirement for district employees, students, and others who access district facilities at any district location. This includes all three colleges: Cerro Coso Community College, Bakersfield College and Porterville College, and all campus locations.

The district is committed to providing a safe and healthy learning and working environment for students and employees. COVID protocols have previously been established to ensure cooperation with local public health officials to prevent and control the spread of communicable diseases.

“It is just the right thing to do,” Board Trustee Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg said following the vote.

Consistent with recommendations and directives from the State of California and the federal government, the vaccine requirement will be phased in over time to allow employees and students to comply with the resolution and to address potential exemptions as allowed for in the resolution.

“It will allow us to continue to phase in our safe return to our campuses,” President Hancock said in an email to employees and students.

The vaccine requirement will be developed consistent with applicable legal requirements, including exceptions for medical conditions and sincerely held religious beliefs. Students not taking any face-to-face courses or accessing in-person student services do not need to provide proof of vaccination.

Incorporating this direction from the KCCD Board, the college’s COVID-19 team will be publishing an updated version of the Cerro Coso Safe Reopening Protocols this week, with the intention of providing further guidance on workplace and classroom protocols for the fall 2021 semester.

Fall semester classes at Cerro Coso begin Monday, Aug. 23. Classes are offered in a variety of formats for students to choose from including online and scheduled Zoom, in addition to an increased number of classes being offered in-person on campus.

The college is requiring employees, students and visitors to wear approved face coverings regardless of vaccination status when entering any Cerro Coso campus. 

A copy of the full resolution and an associated Kern Community College District Q&A For the Vaccine Mandate is available at https://www.kccd.edu/chancellors-office/coronavirus-update.

Natalie Dorrell is the public information officer for Cerro Coso Community College.