Cerritos College reports nine additional COVID-19 cases in 2021


Courtesy of Edgar Mendoza

Since closing most facilities on campus in March, Cerritos College has reported 26 total cases. The president weighed a soft opening in the Fall 2021 semester.

Daniel Suarez Jr., Managing Editor

Three Cerritos College police officers, four campus employees, one contractor and one student account for the nine COVID-19 cases reported by school officials in 2021. Since Cerritos College closed in March of last year, the campus has reported 26 total cases.

Each reported case was at one point physically on campus, but it is uncertain whether or not they contracted the virus on site. There have been no reports of resulting deaths.

When campus first closed, cases were scarce reported, with just five in the first eight months. A trend starting in November shows a major increase in monthly cases, with three in that month and 10 in December.

Six cases were announced the first month of 2021, followed by another three in the first two weeks of February. Announcements of each reported case are found on the school’s website under the COVID-19 tab.

According to these reports, January shows two campus police officers had tested positive and were reported on the same day. Then on the 11th, a contractor on the Performing Arts Center project tested positive.

The two of the four reported employees were reported in January, one a warehouse employee and the other an employee from the Student Health Services department.

In February, reports show another employee from the Child Development Center and one from the Wood Working program. On Monday, the college announced the third positive case in the campus police department.

The COVID-19 page indicates that the campus will remain partially open in the Fall 2021 semester for a limited number of Career Technical Education students. However, President and Superintendent Jose Fierro weighed the option of a “soft return” if possible.

A video posted last year on the Cerritos College YouTube channel shows students in the Dental Hygiene and Culinary Arts programs.

“We’ve accepted less students this year.. So we can have lab classes of just 10, and we can safely distance students in those labs,” said Adelle Kramer, director of Dental Hygiene.

Los Angeles County health officials are vaccinating at higher rates, with eligibility expanding to people over 65 as part of phase 1B. The later part of this phase will expand eligibility to those working in education and childcare, emergency services, food and agriculture.

Campus officials have also expressed interest in having a vaccine distribution site via drive-thru at the college as soon as county health officials allowed it.

“If all of the logistical issues can be worked out with the county, distribution of the vaccine on campus could begin as early as next week,” said Dr. Fierro, Cerritos College President.

Deaths, hospitalizations and testing positivity rate have declined steadily in California in recent weeks, prompting Governor Gavin Newsom to allow restaurants to resume outdoor dining operations.