March 19, 2020 at 8:21 p.m.
The following email was sent college-wide to Santa Monica College students & employees from SMC Superintendent/President Dr. Kathryn E. Jeffery and Director of Health & Wellbeing Dr. Susan Fila.
Dear SMC Colleagues & Students,
Late this afternoon, we learned that a Santa Monica College student tested positive for COVID-19, the coronavirus. This is the first known, confirmed case of coronavirus at SMC. This student was last on campus on Thursday, March 12. In collaboration with Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (“Public Health”), SMC has reached out to this student, who is in isolation off campus and is receiving the care needed from healthcare providers. We will be keeping tabs on the student’s progress and wish a speedy recovery.
Faculty members, students, and SMC employees who may also have had close contact with this student have been notified. And in keeping with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and LA County Public Health protocol, these individuals have been directed to self-quarantine for 14 days until March 26, since the last date of contact with the student—regardless of whether they show symptoms of COVID-19.
We understand that this news may very well heighten anxiety and concern. The college has been active in its preparations before COVID-19 was declared a pandemic, and will continue to do everything possible to minimize the effects of this worldwide crisis on the SMC community. As you know, effective March 18 until June 16, 2020, all SMC classes and support services are only accessible in a remote environment. The college’s main campus on 1900 Pico Blvd. and all five satellite campuses—Bundy Campus, Emeritus College, the Performing Arts Campus, Airport Campus, and the Center for Media and Design—are closed to the general public.
Review COVID-19 Precautions
With the information now in hand—and as the number of cases in Los Angeles County continues to grow rapidly (due in part to greater availability of testing)—please take a moment to review Public Health precautions. If you think you are sick, please stay home, because the coronavirus is highly contagious.
Safer at Home | March 19, 2020
This evening Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and other city and county officials issued a “safer at home” public order—note that this is less rigid than the “shelter-in-place” rules imposed in several counties in Northern California—which requires nonessential retail businesses to close, and prohibits gatherings in enclosed spaces of more than 10 people. Essential businesses such as grocery stores, food banks, gas stations, outdoor farmer’s markets, schools, banks and more may remain open while complying with social distancing and hygiene requirements. The order is in effect at 11:59 p.m. tonight until April 19, except for workers of impacted businesses who have an additional 24 hours.
In addition, also this evening, California Governor Newsom also issued a statewide order for all residents to “stay at home.” All dine-in restaurants, bars and clubs, gyms, and fitness studios will be closed, according to the order and public events and gatherings are not allowed. These steps are essential to limit the spread of COVID-19 and to save lives; we urge you to follow them.
Please note that LA County’s Safer at Home does not impact SMC’s ability to deliver instruction and support services remotely.
“Safer at Home” means you should stay at home as much as possible. You can still make outings for essential things like going to the grocery store, the pharmacy, taking a walk or outdoor exercise so long as you keep six feet between you and others, walking your pets and taking them to the vet, and going to work if you provide essential functions such as healthcare, government, food service, utility services, and public infrastructure. If you do need to head out, please remember to keep six feet apart from other individuals and wash your hands.
Symptoms & Testing
If you are exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms—fever, cough, and difficulty breathing/shortness of breath—please call your primary healthcare provider to be tested immediately. Students: if you do not have a primary care provider, call Student Health Services at 310-434-4262. Do not come in to Student Health as the office is only providing remote services via telephone and Zoom. International students can receive all medical referrals for primary and specialty care via telephone or zoom from SMC Student Health.
You can also call the LA County Information Line at 2-1-1 after business hours. If you cannot directly dial 2-1-1 or are calling from outside Los Angeles County, call 800-339-6993.
We will continue to provide regular updates. Please go to the dedicated COVID-19 SMC webpage for more information and resources. Be sure to review the resources and monitor the employee and student FAQ pages for details on COVID-19’s impact.
Please take care of yourselves during this time –
Dr. Kathryn E. Jeffery, SMC Superintendent/President & Dr. Susan Fila, SMC Director of Health and Wellbeing