Bakersfield, CA – Over 20 Renegade students who have completed Bakersfield College’s Public Health course on Infectious Disease Contact Tracing (PBHS B99) are now being onboarded to use their skills and knowledge of COVID-19 contact tracing throughout the local school system.
Through a partnership with the Kern County Superintendent of Schools and Kern County Public Health Services, select BC students who completed the Infectious Disease Contact Tracing course will now participate in contact tracing efforts and help stop the spread of the virus at schools in Kern County.
“The partnership between Bakersfield College and Kern County Superintendent of Schools has provided on the ground support for local school districts in the area of contact tracing,” says Associate Superintendent at the Kern County Superintendent of Schools, John Mendiburu. “The experience and connection the Bakersfield College students have brought to our COVID response team has been second to none. These Contact Tracers have been able to go into schools and provide the much-needed assistance to school site officials.”
Earlier this year, students who completed this program also received internship opportunities with the Kern Inyo Mono Labor Council. “This summer, we had six Bakersfield College Public Health students join our paid internship programs. We ran two programs concurrently, one with the primary focus on COVID-19 workplace benefits and the other focusing on COVID-19 vaccinations,” said Pedro Ramirez, of the Kern Inyo Mono Labor Council/Valley Worker Center. He went on in detail, “Students received a monthly stipend at $20/hour with an additional data and gas allowance. Students in our COVID Benefits project performed work such as text banking, phone banking, canvassing, and tabled at community events. Students in our COVID Vaccination project focused mostly on direct door-to-door canvassing outreach and some phone banking to assist residents of Kern in securing a vaccine.”
Since last year, Bakersfield College has offered week-long Infectious Disease Contact Tracing courses. As the need for more contact tracers ramped up, Bakersfield College responded by introducing a one-week course that allowed individuals to gain the employability skills needed to provide contract tracing for employers and the community.
“Designing a course to train individuals with the skills to provide contract tracing in an effective and efficient manner is one way Bakersfield College has responded to the nationwide discussion of disease transmission and prevention,” said Public Health Professor, Dr. Charles Daramola. “Contact tracing holds significant power in our fight against COVID-19. Training and equipping Bakersfield College, Public Health majors and Bakersfield community members with the necessary skills is key to our communal success.”