September 6, 2023

Indoor Masking Strongly Recommended (Though Not Mandatory)

SMC Students & Employees Received a Version of this Message Via Email Sept. 6, 2023

Dear SMC Community:

COVID-19 cases have been on an uptick in Los Angeles and elsewhere. Late last week, LA County Public Health officials stated that while the higher transmission rates aren’t “a cause for alarm,” individuals should take all the basic safety measures to protect themselves and others.

This message contains important updates to Santa Monica College’s COVID-19 safety recommendations—please take a few moments to read it in its entirety:

1. Masking indoors and in crowded spaces *strongly encouraged*: While SMC will not be requiring or enforcing indoor masking except for within the Student Health Center, the college strongly encourages masking indoors and in crowded spaces both indoors and outdoors (for example, at fairs and other such social events) where social distancing is not possible. Surgical masks and hand sanitizer will be made available in all high-traffic areas such as the Student Services Center and the Cafeteria.

2. SMC’s “Masking Matrix” Repealed, College Will Follow LA County Requirements: Previously, SMC used its Mask Mandate Decision Matrix—which used CDC community transmission levels as a benchmark—for masking-related decisions that would impact the college community’s day-to-day activities when on site at one of the college’s campuses. Going forward, Santa Monica College will no longer be using this matrix because it is based on outdated metrics, but will rather rely on LA County Public Health’s requirements for Institutes of Higher Education to inform masking protocols.

3. Use Common-Sense Safety Measures to Keep Healthy: Rely on the safety measures that helped us get through the pandemic to keep healthy in the days ahead:

a. Get vaccinated and/or boosted to minimize the possibility of serious illness and/or hospitalization.

b. Wash your hands thoroughly (watch this short video!). It takes just 20 seconds to keep yourself healthy and safe (and not just from COVID-19).

c. If you’re experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, stay home, and get tested. The Student Health Center will have COVID-19 tests available for students who are sick/exposed and only for employees who have had a close contact/exposure in the workplace. 

Where to Get Tested: You have several free or low-cost options to get tested for COVID-19. Check out the following:

LA County Department of Public Health Centers (View locations – and hours—of a public health center closest to you); OR search for a community-based COVID-19 testing site near you.

4. Report a COVID-19 positive test: If you test positive for COVID-19, you are required to report the result to the college:


Please check out the LA County Public Health webpage—it contains a wealth of information, from resources on how/where to get vaccinated, to the latest data, safety tips, what to do if you’re sick/exposed, and so much more.

The Santa Monica College Emergency Operations Team continues to monitor public health trends and data closely—as it did throughout the pandemic. Let us work together to ensure a safe and healthy SMC!

-The SMC Emergency Operations Team