March 18, 2020
SMC Board Declares State of Local Emergency
Resolution Authorizes Superintendent/President to Take Actions Necessary to Ensure Continuity of Education and Health & Safety, in Response to COVID-19
SANTA MONICA, CA—In a special meeting held last night, Tuesday, March 17, the Santa Monica College (SMC) Board of Trustees unanimously approved a resolution that declared a state of local emergency at the college. The passage of the resolution authorized SMC Superintendent/President Dr. Kathryn E. Jeffery to take actions necessary in response to COVID-19, the novel coronavirus. There are currently no known or confirmed cases at SMC.
The resolution allows Superintendent/President Jeffery to take the actions needed to ensure continuity of the college’s educational services, while keeping the health and safety of the SMC community paramount. As of March 18, all SMC classes and support services have moved to a remotely accessible environment. The college’s main campus on 1900 Pico Blvd. and all five satellite campuses are closed to the general public.
In days prior, all large gatherings, extra-curricular activities, study abroad trips, nonessential college travel, athletic events, in-person activities and classes at SMC Emeritus (the program for older adults) were either cancelled, suspended, or postponed. All these changes remain in effect until June 16, 2020.
“This board resolution will help streamline the decision-making process at Santa Monica College, under the leadership of Dr. Kathryn E. Jeffery. I commend the steps she and senior administration have taken, proactively, to limit the possible transmission of COVID-19 at SMC,” said Dr. Nancy Greenstein, Board Chair. “There is nothing more important to each member of this board, than the wellbeing of the college’s students and employees. This is a creative and resilient community. The steps that are being taken allow the college to continue delivering on its mission, which includes providing “a safe, inclusive, and dynamic learning environment”, and this goes on in a remotely accessible environment.”
Board Vice Chair Dr. Susan Aminoff added that the governing board was particularly grateful for how flexible and understanding SMC’s faculty and staff had been, of the changes that had to be made to safeguard students’ wellbeing, as well as theirs. “This swift, all-encompassing move to a remote environment required many SMC employees to pivot and learn skills that may have been unfamiliar. And to our students: hang in there. Stay connected. Everyone at SMC is still here, and will help get you through this!”
The SMC Board resolution follows the declaration of a State of Emergency by Governor Gavin Newsom on March 4, 2020; the local and public health emergency declared by theBoard of Supervisors of the County of Los Angeles and the Department of Public Health, also on March 4; and the local emergency proclamation made by the City of Santa Monica on March 13.
Among several other provisions, the SMC board resolution authorizes Superintendent/President Jeffery to take actions necessary to ensure the continuation of educational services, enter into memorandums of understanding with employee organizations for the provision of leaves of absence with pay to employees impacted by COVID-19, and negotiate temporary rent/facility use fee reductions or suspensions with food service vendors on campus.
SMC is in continual touch with public health agencies including the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health and coordinates emergency response with local and regional partners, including the City of Santa Monica. Please visit santamonica.gov/coronavirus for city-specific information. For more information on SMC’s response to the coronavirus, and changes to the college’s services and operations, visit: smc.edu/coronavirus.
The Santa Monica College Board of Trustees is composed of Dr. Nancy Greenstein, Board Chair; Dr. Susan Aminoff; Board Vice Chair; Dr. Louise Jaffe; Dr. Margaret Quinones-Perez; Rob Rader; Barry Snell; Dr. Sion Roy; and Brooke Harrington, student trustee. For more information on the March 17 board meeting, emailRose_Lisa@smc.edu or visit smc.edu/BOT.