Students can opt out of vaccination with a medical or religious exception, but all unvaccinated students must receive a negative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test for COVID-19. These students must submit the negative test, which will be taken within 72 hours of the in-person class, online through a portal or provide a hard copy of the results to their professor. The school requires that all students and staff, regardless of vaccination status, wear face masks indoors.
Students, such as Maya Abdallah, a freshman drama student, are taking classes on the newly opened college grounds and adhering to the mandate. Abdallah values the school’s efforts to ensure the safety of students. She believes many students were nervous about returning because of the rapid spread of COVID-19, “but I think” [the school] does a really good job, ”she said.
Abdallah disagrees with students who refuse to get vaccinations. She said that she believes her Anti-Vaxx colleagues are “moving out” [students] all a college experience, ”they all enjoyed.
In an interview with Corsair on Sept. 2, Susan Fila, director of health and wellbeing at Santa Monica College, described a variety of supportive “wraparound” services to further address the pandemic-stricken general life problems of SMC students. Programs include a 24/7 emotional support line for students. The school also hosts an on-campus pantry event called Bodega every Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the first floor of the Cayton Complex. Case managers can also help students cope with housing insecurity and other financial challenges.
Fila has explained these services in more detail. “We provide mental health support for students through our Wellness and Wellbeing Center,” she said.
She added that the services, like individual therapy, are confidential and can be accessed remotely by those interested. Fila explained that the student services are all scheduled so that anyone can access them without any capacity constraints.
Abdallah added that one downside to being a theater major is having to do all of your masked acting assignments indoors. “Hopefully they’ll let us take our masks off soon,” she said.
“Our library is open so that students can access services there. Our pantry is open … we do everything we can to support the needs of the students, ”said Fila. She hopes any student who feels they are having trouble this semester will get in touch. You can take advantage of the extensive resources that Santa Monica College has to offer as a return to local service with a vaccination mandate.