As the United States reaches the one-year-mark of dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, the need to provide for struggling communities grows stronger and stronger over time.
The Contra Costa Community College District has especially felt compelled to provide for students and staff during these uncertain times, even hosting the Los Medanos College campus as a COVID-19 testing site for a brief time.
The testing site began operation on Jan. 7, providing tests by appointment in the north parking lot of the LMC campus. To reduce traffic and other possible issues, LMC Police Services assisted the testing site, resulting in little disruption to other activities.
The procedure was run by Contra Costa Health Services, along with mobile testing services, and was open Monday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
“Working with the county has been a great process, they understand our mission and our focus on student needs,” said Carlos Montoya, the LMC Vice President of Business Services. “So our planning discussions around not interrupting our student activities like technology distribution or our food pantry were completely understood and supported.”
The school district initially decided to contact CCHS and the Department of Health to host a testing site when COVID-19 cases began to rise in late November. Though there have been some challenges along the way, the testing site has been successful in providing testing to the community and has been a positive experience for the district.
“As a community college, LMC and the district believes that our facilities should be used for the public good in times of crisis or emergency,” said LMC President Bob Kratochvil. “We were pleased to be able to work with the county on making the campus available in this critical time.”
As of Feb. 4, the mobile testing site has closed its operations at LMC and moved to the Antioch Community Center. Due to the rising cases of COVID-19 in Contra Costa County, the state required a larger testing facility for the number of patients requesting tests.
Despite this move, the CCCCD still plans to help out the community during the pandemic. This includes hosting possible vaccination sites and providing assistance to first responders.
“The county continues to have a dialog with us about the potential use of our Pittsburg campus as a vaccination delivery site. We had initial conversations about doing so at the Brentwood Center, but the County decided on another site in the Brentwood area,” said Kratochvil. “However, the County Fire Department is beginning plans to use the Brentwood Center parking lot as an inoculation site for first-responders.”
As the Contra Costa Community College District works to provide help and service to those in need during the pandemic, students are still urged to connect and provide support to one another despite the impending boundaries.
“Building community in an online environment is something that is a little bit harder to do but is so much more important,” said District Chancellor Bryan Reece, “The thing that other students can do is to help other students feel a sense of community in this environment somehow.”
You can visit the CCHS website to see about getting tested or you can find more information about LMC’s COVID-19 resources through its website.