Campus opens socially distanced study hall at the request of students

Second-year+nursing+students+Julia+Castaneda+%28left%29+Alexander+Kim+and+Ester+Perez+take+temperatures+of+students+before+they+enter+the+study+hall.+Photo+credit%3A+Vincent+Medina

Second-year nursing students Julia Castaneda (left) Alexander Kim and Ester Perez take temperatures of students before they enter the study hall. Photo credit: Vincent Medina

Vincent Medina, Staff Writer

In an effort to provide a place for students to study during the pandemic Cerritos College turned its gym into a study hall. To maintain CDC guidelines the school implemented a safety checklist, temperature checks, sanitizing stations, masks and social distancing.

The college’s gym has been used as a study hall since Aug. 17. Before attending, students must go through a screening to fill out a safety checklist to confirm they have no symptoms of COVID-19 or have been in contact with anyone who has COVID-19. Students will receive a confirmation that they are safe to go inside after filling out the checklist.

“The idea to create the study hall was collective from our leadership group, executive council and student trustee,” said Dr. Jose Fierro, president of Cerritos College. “It was a result of a student survey where they expressed the need for an area to study.”

In addition to wearing a mask, students are also required to have their temperature taken at the door and sanitize their hands. After receiving a wristband to show their temperature has been checked, students can confirm they are safe to go inside to the temperature check-in staff.

“That’s a safe distance from each other,” said Julia Castaneda after viewing the layout of the study hall. Castaneda is a second-year nursing student at the college and a member of the temperature check-in staff. “I feel that the study hall is safe to attend,” Casteneda continued.

“Safety guidelines are being followed,” said Rory Natividad, professor of Kinesiology, who was monitoring the study hall. “If students break the rules, we will ask them to comply. If they repeat it, we will ask them to leave.”

“It was not a requirement for a health official to inspect the study hall,” Fierro stated. “We have followed all guidelines from the public health department, and have gone beyond guidelines by spacing desks 12 feet instead of 6 feet apart.

“There is always a concern with the transmission of the virus regardless of the safety measures,” Fierro continued, “We are taking all measures into consideration. This includes frequent sanitation of the area, wearing a mask, social distancing and keeping contact to a minimum.”

“Thirty minutes is plenty of time to sanitize the study hall,” says facilities employee Donnie Hawkins. “We spray it with our disinfectant and wipe it down. We have a special machine we use as well. We are working very hard to make sure that all students are safe from the virus.”

“We acquired a machine that sprays sanitizer as a mist to sanitize large areas quickly,” Fierro said. “Facilities also uses this machine in classrooms and offices.”

Fierro is unsure when the school will reopen.

“We are not authorized to reopen from the state or the county so we will continue to wait for guidance,”he said.

A barcode was provided at the temperature check-in desk for students to fill out the checklist online if they had not done so prior.