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Santa Monica College Student Tests Positive for Coronavirus
By Jorge Casuso
March 20, 2020 -- A Santa Monica College student has tested positive for the coronavirus, marking the first confirmed case of the virus at the school, SMC officials said Thursday.
The student -- who was last on campus Thursday, March 12 -- has been quarantined, school officials said.
"In collaboration with Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, SMC has reached out to this student, who is in isolation off campus and is receiving the care needed from healthcare providers," officials said in a letter to students and colleagues.
The school has notified faculty members, students, and SMC employees who may also have had close contact with this student, according to the letter from SMC Superintendent/President Dr. Kathryn E. Jeffery and Dr. Susan Fila, SMC's Director of Health & Wellbeing.
In keeping with the protocol from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and LA County Public Health, the individuals have been directed to self-quarantine for 14 days until March 26, since the last date of contact with the student -- regardless of whether they show symptoms of COVID-19, officials said.
"We understand that this news may very well heighten anxiety and concern," the letter said.
"The college has been active in its preparations before COVID-19 was declared a pandemic, and will continue to do everything possible to minimize the effects of this worldwide crisis on the SMC community."
On Tuesday, the SMC Board declared a state of local emergency and authorized the school's superintendent to take the necessary actions to respond to the coronavirus crisis ("Santa Monica College Declares State of Emergency," March 19, 2020).
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.
SMC has some 30,000 full-time students. The changes will remain in effect until June 16, 2020.
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