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Local Public Schools Close, City Postpones Board Meetings, Events
 

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By Lookout Staff

March 13, 2020 -- The City of Santa Monica has canceled all public gatherings, and local public schools will close through at least Monday after it was learned a parent of students was exposed to coronavirus.

"We are aware of a community member with children in our schools who was exposed to coronavirus," Superintendent Dr. Ben Drati said Thursday.

"We have noticed a higher than normal absentee rate on our campuses today and will take this time to determine if students are ill, with what type of illness, or if parents are keeping students home during the coronavirus pandemic.

"This allows us time to consult with our local agencies and consider the status of this health emergency in LA County and the communities we serve. Staff and teachers will prepare for possible school closures next week," Drati said.

The District will "thoroughly clean" all schools and "evaluate the state of illness in our communities in order to make an informed decision for Tuesday into next week," the Superintendent said.

The District, like Santa Monica College (SMC), already had implemented measures to stop the virus from spreading, including activating Emergency Operations and taking extra precautions such as enhanced cleaning.

The College closed Friday as it transitions from "in-person classes to a remote learning environment" starting next Wednesday, officials said ("Local Schools Boost Efforts to Prevent Coronavirus Spread," March 12, 2020).

Meanwhile the City of Santa Monica announced Thursday that it has canceled all gatherings -- both hosted by the City and other groups -- and "is taking aggressive measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19," City officials said.

Santa Monica Public Library branches will be closed from March 14 to March 31, with the Pico Branch closing today.

The Virginia Avenue Park campus facilities will be closed March 13 through March 16 in alignment with the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District suspension. for updates on closures click here.

The City also has suspended all meetings of Boards and Commissions through March 31.

Thursday morning, the City’s Emergency Operations Center was activated to level 2 "to respond swiftly to changing needs," officials said.

L.A. County Health officials advise the following "key protective community strategies":
  • Stay at home when sick,
  • Wash hands frequently (for at least 20 seconds),
  • Cover sneezes and coughs, appropriately dispose of soiled tissues and wash hands afterward,
  • Avoid close contact with those who are ill, and
  • Get a flu shot to prevent influenza if you have not done so this flu season.

City officials also encourage residents to prepare for any emergency, "including a potential coronavirus emergency in the U.S.," by ensuring their families have a disaster kit at home.

The kits should contain seven days of household essentials, including food, water, sanitation supplies and basic medications. For more information visit the City's Office of Emergency Management’s website.


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