Fierro advocates for students to continue their education this spring semester


Courtesy of Cerritos College

Dr. Jose Fierro joined Cerritos College as the President/Superintendent in 2015. Under his leadership the award winning Cerritos Complete Program was launched.

Jacqueline Cochran, News Editor

“Don’t give up, you are getting closer to the finish,” Dr. Fierro, Cerritos College President said, welcoming students to the Spring Semester of 2021.

Cerritos College will conduct the majority of its learning online due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the steady rise of those infected and hospitalized in LA County and Southern California.

People have had to adjust every way they operate, like working from home, eating take out, wearing masks, gloves, practicing social distancing and even testing for the virus from inside their vehicles. The virus is as widespread as air.

But Dr. Fierro remains optimistic that things will get better. In the meantime, he pledges that the college will take every imaginable step to ensure students still have a good college experience and reach those higher education goals under current circumstances.

“Thank you students for coming back, especially since it feels like things are weighing on you. Endure a little more, stay focused and stay connected.

It’s important that students have a network of people they can lean on when they need help. Equally important is actually asking for help,” Fierro said.

“We have some assistance we can provide students. Some funds have been allocated for some emergency aid that can help with things like food, a bill, or a laptop,” Fierro said.

Cerritos Cares is a centralized way of connecting students with resources. If a student needs assistance, they simply need to fill out an application. The deadline to receive assistance is March 21, 2021.

Cerritos College has had its own experiences with COVID-19 on campus. By the end of the fall semester, there were eight known cases. Since the beginning of this semester there has been one additional reported case of an employee in the warehouse.

According to Dr. Fierro the instances have been people coming to campus already infected. “Each time we were informed we took immediate action to ensure there wasn’t further spread.

“We have done our best, but I do think our communication protocols between us weren’t strong. The truth is we are all responsible. Guidelines are in place everywhere but some people don’t follow the guidelines,” said Fierro.

COVID-19 has had adverse effects on the economy. Unemployment is up and some businesses are struggling to stay in business. Places where large numbers of people are known to gather have been affected the most.

“Last semester we had some budget cuts. But we did not have a reduction in services or employees. We were fiscally responsible and created a reserve which has helped us tremendously.

“22-23 will be the next budget and we hope to continue to meet our obligations, may have issues, of course it will also depend on some of the state allocated funding we receive,“ Fierro said.

When asked about enrollment, Dr. Fierro said, enrollment has declined about 1%. “We are still operating at a high capacity, even though the majority of classes are online. You would think that the work would be less online but its actually more.

“What I am most proud of is how creative our faculty and staff have become in order to still teach the some amount of information. We are still offering about 98% of what we normally offer.

“For instance, the automotive professor actually took engines home and filmed repairs live for the students. I tip my hat off to all of the staff and faculty,” Fierro said.

“All will be worth it in the end,” said Fierro. For enrollment information, click on the this link. For more information on the Cerritos Cares program click this link.