December 29, 2021
Winter 2022: Minimal On-Ground Presence As Planned
Dear SMC Colleagues & Students:
I hope that you have been keeping safe and healthy this holiday season. The SMC Emergency Operations Team (EOT) has been monitoring the trends around the new Omicron variant of Covid-19. Keeping in mind current national and local public health guidance specifically as it relates to higher education institutions, like SMC, that are commuter colleges and do not have a residential component, Santa Monica College’s scheduled Winter 2022 session beginning Jan. 4, 2022, will continue as planned with a minimal on-ground presence and enhanced safety measures.
SMC has proceeded with extreme caution, offering far fewer on-ground classes in comparison to sister community colleges, to allow for the contingencies that arise with a fluid public health scenario like the one we are in. The college is continually evaluating public health trends—and will be on the lookout for updated guidance from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health regarding changes in health orders for colleges and universities; these may include changes about vaccination status and boosters, type of masks to be worn, changes required regarding times for quarantine and isolation, and more. SMC is prepared to pivot should there be a significant impact on the college community.
Winter 2022: 30 percent of classes on-ground + Limited Services with Enhanced Safety
- Only 30 percent of classes—mostly lab-based and experiential ones in disciplines like
Cosmetology, Dance, Physical Education, Respiratory Therapy, and Science—will be on-
ground. This constitutes 169 classes on-ground, with roughly 2,000 students enrolled throughout SMC’s main and satellite campuses—approximately half of the classes SMC had on-ground in the Fall 2021 semester.
- Select, limited in-person services will be available. To access these services, students
need to be vaccinated. Currently, Admissions, Financial Aid, International Education,
and Outreach (Welcome Center) are scheduled to hold drop-in hours from 10 am-2 pm,
Monday through Thursday.
For an up-to-date schedule of these limited in-person student services (including the Bodega food pantry), see “Hours for Student Services.”
- All safety protocols including social distancing, wearing of masks, symptom screening
prior to arrival on campus, and more—as per current LA County Public Health protocols for Higher Education—will be enforced, and in place, to limit the spread of Covid-19 and keep us safe.
Also, review the safety protocols you need to observe whenever on campus: Watch SMC Student & Employee COVID Training Video.
- SMC will be making surgical masks available for students at all check-in areas and in classrooms. In addition, KN95 or N95 masks are available to SMC employees on a voluntary basis (please check with your area manager/supervisor if you would like to have one for
on-campus use). These masks have been proven to be more effective than cloth masks
in preventing the spread of Covid-19.
- Our amazing, diligent Maintenance & Operations team has worked throughout the uncertainties
of the pandemic to provide enhanced cleaning to keep us all safe and healthy. Watch this video to see the protocols that were enforced in preparation for the SMC community’s in-person
return—including installing MERV 13 air filters and purifiers, Plexiglas barriers, increasing
the frequency and intensity of disinfecting/cleaning high-touch areas, and more. Please
know that these safety measures will be continued and enhanced in Winter 2022 and beyond.
- Students, we are aware that the pandemic may have affected you and caused stress,
anxiety, and feelings of isolation. SMC is here to support you—in ways beyond academic
counseling, basic needs assistance, and more.
Watch this video to hear an SMC alum share information on *free* mental health assistance & more: SMC Support for Students During Covid-19.
SMC Employees, the EASE program offers free face-to-face counseling and referrals. Call 1-800-882-1341 for more information and visit this page to learn more about the Ease Program.
As we head into the New Year, please continue to exercise caution and observe all public health safety protocols: reduce your contact with other people, especially in crowded indoor settings; wear a mask and upgrade it; wash hands thoroughly, and well; use home tests before gathering. Get vaccinated and boosted, if possible, to prevent serious illness and hospitalization. As a friendly, timely reminder, there will be a mobile vaccine clinic at SMC’s Core Performance Center courtyard (main campus) on Thursday, Jan. 6, 2022, (11 a.m. – 7 p.m.) where boosters of both Pfizer and Moderna will be available in addition to 1st and 2nd doses of Pfizer and Moderna: register for vaccinations.
For current information on Omicron, read the CDC’s resource page.
Thank you for your patience and staying the course with us at Santa Monica College as we seek to provide the highest-quality education in these uncertain times, while maintaining a strong emphasis on safety overall. Please monitor your SMC email for updates. Plans for Spring 2022 remain as planned currently; you will be notified if any changes occur.
Have a safe and healthy New Year. I wish you all the best!
Kathryn E. Jeffery, Ph.D.