The Bakersfield College football program began a weeklong shutdown Monday due to several positive COVID-19 tests, athletic director Reggie Bolton confirmed to The Californian on Wednesday.
Bolton said the school decided to pause football activities for a week after receiving three positive tests. He added that this internal benchmark has been in place since the start of the pandemic, and that he expects football activities to resume Monday, Aug. 23.
Although they came from a large sample, Bolton said three positive tests in the midst of the surging delta variant provided a “perfect time” to “hit reset” in advance of the first football game against LA Pierce on Sept. 4.
“We’re getting so close to the season, and our school’s come out with a vaccine mandate — that’s another issue we’re dealing with,” he said.
The Kern Community College District, much like four-year CSU schools, recently voted to mandate vaccines for on-campus students. Proof of one dose is required by Sept. 7, and proof of two by Nov. 1. In the context of the football team, Bolton said there’s been “good progress” toward complying with the policy and noted that vaccinated players won’t have to quarantine after exposure to someone who tests positive for COVID-19.
“I think that energized everybody… we don’t want to have a game get forfeited,” he said.
The college hasn’t played a football game since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, after the Renegades were unable to find enough opponents to host a delayed season in the spring of 2021.
The school will be administering the Moderna vaccine at Renegades home football games, though the first one isn’t until Sept. 11.