August 17, 2022

SMC Board Rescinds Mandatory COVID-19 Vax Program

Dear SMC Colleagues & Students:

At a special meeting held yesterday, August 16, the Santa Monica College Board of Trustees rescinded the college’s mandatory COVID-19 vaccination program for students and employees, which was implemented last year on August 4, 2021, in accordance with Board direction. Since its initial approval, SMC’s vaccination program has been modified several times—most recently with the suspension of the booster requirement—to respond to a changing public health landscape, an improved outlook with COVID-19, and the latest scientific data available.

  • Students who have not submitted proof of COVID-19 vaccination (including boosters) will continue to maintain their enrollment status for Fall 2022 on-ground classes, as well as for hybrid classes that have an on-ground component. Additionally, prospective students will not be required to show proof of vaccination. Students also now have access to on-ground indoor services without showing proof of COVID-19 vaccine or a negative COVID-19 test.
  • SMC colleagues will be receiving information from Human Resources in the coming days with more details on how this rescission might impact current guidelines for employees with pre-approved exemptions.

Santa Monica College’s action is aligned with that of several other sister community colleges and similarly-sized agencies, who have also done away with a vaccination requirement for Fall 2022 due to the improving COVID-19 situation made possible by widespread vaccination, and the now-known fact of COVID-19 vaccinations and boosters not necessarily preventing spread and infection (though vaccinations and boosters remain an important tool to protect certain individuals from serious illness, hospitalizations, or death).

SMC will continue to implement all other safety and mitigation measures that have been in place throughout the pandemic—including mandatory indoor masking protocols, enhanced cleaning/disinfecting/air ventilation, and providing ample Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) wherever required. All of these measures have been proven to reduce community transmission of COVID-19 and other such easily transmitted viruses/illnesses.

To learn more about the various factors that led to this recommendation and the rescission of the COVID-19 vaccination program, please see beginning page 4 of the August 16 Board of Trustees Agenda.

As throughout the pandemic, the college is committed to ensuring the health and safety of our community, with the latest and best data available, while maintaining the institutional commitment to equity and access.

Kathryn E. Jeffery, Ph.D.