SANTA MONICA—As of April 30, Santa Monica College (SMC) as well as all 9 campuses in the Los Angeles Community College District (LACCD) have announced that the Fall 2020 semester will continue remotely due to adverse health and safety impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to an April 28 email from LACCD Chancellor Francisco C. Rodriguez to all staff and the roughly 150,000 students of LACCD campuses, the summer semester is scheduled to begin on June 15.

All fall classes will be online, but with the possibility of returning for a minimal amount of “hard to convert” courses, if health and safety regulations permit. Rodriguez noted that staff are aware of such classes (those that have been difficult to conduct remotely), and “have been working with state agencies and faculty leaders to identify flexibility, simulations and solutions for laboratory, clinical, and other hands-on course and program requirements.”

He added that “some spring semester classes, especially in the allied health and sciences, and career education areas may need to be extended into the summer session or modified to satisfy course and program requirements.”

SMC announced on April 30 that it would be offering its student support services and nearly 3,000 Fall 2020 classes online. The decision was made public by Superintendent/ President Kathryn E. Jeffery, after a recommendation to do so by the SMC Emergency Operations Team. The Team has been tracking COVID-19-related developments, and the choice was made due to the fact that a vaccine for the virus will probably only be widely accessible in 2021, and it would be almost impossible for SMC to identify potential COVID-19 cases on the college’s open-access campuses.

In terms of graduation ceremonies for the Class of 2020, a LACCD 2020 Virtual Graduation Planning Committee was formed on April 1, with representatives from all 9 colleges and ESC. A final decision on the best course of action is still pending, since while there “is some support for a virtual recognition, most wish to walk in a traditional commencement ceremony when health and safety restrictions allow. Stay tuned.”

SMC, on the other hand, announced on April 8 that a virtual graduation ceremony would be held on June 16. However, graduates would be able to participate in the 2021 traditional graduation ceremony too.

As of April 28, there have been 42 self-reported positive COVID-19 cases among LACCD staff, faculty, and students, including one fatality. In the SMC community, there have been 7 confirmed COVID-19 cases as of Friday, May 8.

From 11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. on Tuesday, May 12, LACCD is hosting a virtual conference with Rodriguez for all to join. According to the announcement, it is an “informal talk about the District’s current goals and future plans.”

View the official email from Rodriguez to the LACCD community here, and the SMC announcement here. Rodriguez ended the email by providing reassurance and expressing his gratitude:

“We’ll get through this, and we’ll be stronger and more unified. Thank you all for your uncommon dedication to our students, your resilience and your patience. Please stay safe.”