Bakersfield College's summer session began Monday, and campus officials have put forth several public health guidelines to ensure safety among students and faculty who must meet in person.

About 93 percent of summer courses will be held virtually, said Vice President of Instruction Billie Jo Rice. But for students enrolled in programs such as nursing, paramedics, automotive and chemistry, some portion of in-person labs and clinicals are crucial to course completion.

"For an easy to convert course like a general psychology or history course, you can put that online pretty easily," Rice said. "If they're practicing IVs, we don't want that virtually."

As a result, the college has put forth several guidelines for incrementally reopening the campus this summer, according to a recent presentation to the College Council

The first group of students coming on campus, most likely in June, will notice changes in class size, classroom design and how they're allowed to interact with one another.

Student health questions will be posted outside each classroom, and anyone entering a classroom will have their temperature checked. Anyone with a temperature of 100.4 degrees or higher will not be able to enter, according to the presentation.

Faculty members and students also will be asked to wash their hands before entering a class and frequently throughout as requested.

Face masks must be worn, and individuals must maintain at least 6 feet of distance from one another.

Bill Potter, director of maintenance and operations, said four classrooms and two buildings will be used for essential classes, while other areas of campus will remain closed. Class size will be determined by square footage of a classroom and equipment needs, which will lead to staggering the number of students allowed inside at a time. One classroom, which originally had 35 desks, will only use 15, he said, and they have been spread out.

Inside facilities, hand-washing stations will be provided. Potter's staff also plans on sanitizing classrooms and labs at least two to three times a day.

From an athletic perspective, all personnel using a facility will wash their hands prior to entry and exit. Students are expected to sanitize equipment after use and classrooms will be sanitized several times a day, according to the presentation.

"There's a cost associated with this. Luckily, the labor cost for the summer isn't going to hit us because we've been able to adjust schedules because it's such a small group coming in," said Potter.

Rice said the college is shifting as many classes as possible online for the fall, but for those that need to be on campus, a plan is being formulated. Details are currently scarce, but Potter says it will look different than the summer semester format. Depending on how many classes need to be on campus, some possibilities include spacing out classrooms in use or implementing one-way walkways and hallways.

For now, Potter can guarantee there will be no large gatherings taking place this fall and social distancing will continue. 

Ema Sasic can be reached at 661-395-7392. Follow her on Twitter: @ema_sasic.

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