March 13, 2020

SMC COVID-19 Update for All Employees

Dear SMC Colleagues:

The developments around COVID-19, the 2019 novel coronavirus, are rapidly evolving.  The Los Angeles Unified School District and other public and private schools are closing for various periods of time. This will impact a number of employees with young children who attend these schools. Employees who are adversely impacted by these closures should consult with their supervisors about remote work opportunities.

As reported in my most recent communication on March 11, Santa Monica College is currently at Scenario II of the SMC COVID-19 Infectious Outbreak Plan (PDF): we have implemented measures based on information from the local public health department that there are two or more community transmission cases of COVID-19, but no staff or students have tested positive. To reiterate: there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 at Santa Monica College.

We have had some employees reporting fevers. SMC Health staff reached out to these employees and they do not have COVID-19 symptoms, which was initially suspected and caused alarm.

An Important Reminder: Do Not Report to Work If You Are Ill

During this period of heightened concern, we ask that all employees who are ill not report to work. The most common symptoms of COVID-19are fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. Contact your primary care physician if you are experiencing these symptoms, particularly if your symptoms are severe, if you have traveled internationally in the last month, or if you have been in contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19.

Students will receive a similar reminder today to not come to any of SMC’s campuses if they are exhibiting symptoms. Also:

  • If an international student calls your office or tells you that they are exhibiting symptoms, instruct them to call Student Health Services at 310-434-4262 or their primary care doctor.
  • If a resident/in-country student exhibits symptoms, tell them to contact their primary healthcare provider immediately.

Heightened Cleaning at SMC & Precaution Measures

Our Facilities and Maintenance personnel have heightened their cleaning protocols by taking extra precautions to do daily cleaning of doorknobs and handles, light switches, stair rails, and elevator buttons throughout all our facilities. The department has increased janitorial efforts in all buildings paying specific attention to restrooms, locker rooms, and computer labs. Hand sanitizer dispensers are located at building entrances, hallways, corridors and near elevators on both main and satellite campuses. If you happen to come across a dispenser without soap or hand sanitizer please let Facilities know via the work order system or call 310-434-4378. 

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The college, as you know, is transitioning most classes to a temporary remote learning environment beginning Wednesday, March 18. Classes are canceled through Tuesday, March 17. The college remains open for business and most campus operations will continue during this time. Note that critical student support services including counseling and enrollment development located in the Student Services Center all remain in place.

Our faculty, classified staff, managers, and administrators have been working tirelessly to ensure that this happens as smoothly as possible, and that no student is left behind in the transition—I commend each of you! My special thanks to SMC custodians, facilities personnel, and all other classified staff who have been working behind the scenes to support this transition of SMC’s instructional services and campus preparedness efforts during this unprecedented crisis.

We will provide regular updates as we work together to support the educational needs of SMC students.

  Kathryn E. Jeffery, Ph.D.
Superintendent/President