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Santa Monica College Declares State of Emergency
By Lookout Staff
March 19, 2020 -- The Santa Monica College (SMC) Board of Trustees on Tuesday declared a state of local emergency and authorized the school's superintendent to take the necessary actions to respond to the coronavirus crisis.
The resolution allows Superintendent/President Dr. Kathryn E. 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," college officials said.
“This board resolution will help streamline the decision-making process at Santa Monica College,” said Dr. Nancy Greenstein, the Board's chair.
"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,” Greenstein said.
The board's unanimous vote came one day before SMC classes and support services "moved to a remotely accessible environment" on Wednesday.
“This swift, all-encompassing move to a remote environment required many SMC employees to pivot and learn skills that may have been unfamiliar," said Board Vice Chair Dr. Susan Aminoff.
The message to students: "Hang in there. Stay connected. Everyone at SMC is still here, and will help get you through this!” Aminoff said
On Monday School officials closed SMC's main campus on Pico Boulevard and its five satellite campuses and facilities -- including exterior walkways and common areas -- to the general public.
SMC has also canceled, suspended or postponed all large gatherings, extra-curricular activities, study abroad trips, nonessential college travel, athletic events, in-person activities and classes at SMC Emeritus, its program for older adults.
The changes will remain in effect until June 16, 2020.
The resolution approved Tuesday also authorizes Jeffery to "enter into memorandums of understanding with employee organizations for the provision of leaves of absence with pay to employees impacted by COVID-19."
In addition, it allows her to "negotiate temporary rent/facility use fee reductions or suspensions with food service vendors on campus."
No cases of the coronavirus has have been reported at SMC, college officials said.
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