Santa Maria Public Library closes all branches
The city of Santa Maria will close the main Public Library and its four branches effective Tuesday in observance of public health guidelines to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
The city also has canceled all public library programs and events scheduled through the end of March.
Library staff still will be available during business hours to assist the public with placing and picking up holds as well as provide reference help.
Book drops also will be open at all library locations for the public to return library materials.
The library will continue to offer digital resources and downloadable materials including e-books, movies, magazine and audiobooks online at www.cityofsantamaria.org/Library.
The online database, email reference service and resources for veterans will also be available online, along with online applications for a free library card.
Signs will be posted at each of the library branches informing the public of the closures.
Questions may be directed to Librarian Mary Housel at 805-925-0994, ext. 2372.
Hancock College to discuss online classes
Administrators at Hancock College in Santa Maria declared a campuswide state of emergency on Monday in response to the coronavirus, extending spring break by another week and delaying any further classes until March 30.
Administrators and staff began discussing options for online learning two weeks ago in preparation for the possibility of cases in the county, according to college spokesman Chris McGuinness.
College administrators met Monday to try to finalize plans for alternative class modalities. At this time, however, the college has not found a solution for hands-on classes, and students are encouraged to continue checking their student email accounts for updates regarding classes.
“After extensive discussions with our faculty, staff, and student leaders, Allan Hancock College has determined that it is not feasible to offer all of our courses in an online format,” said Hancock College Superintendent and President Kevin G. Walthers.
Walthers said the college will continue to discuss alternative options for classes. Currently, the college is developing modality formats depending on the type of class, including online classes, modification of lab-oriented Career Technology classes and limiting in-person class sizes.
An additional week of break will be added to the scheduled spring break taking place this week.
Following the announcement of the closure of K-12 schools in Santa Barbara County, Hancock College has assured all staff members that the college will approve necessity leaves for child care, family care and self care.
The college also released a statement Monday requesting that all staff over the age of 65, as well as those with chronic health conditions, practice self-isolation by remaining at home.
Hancock College has created a hotline for students and staff to direct questions regarding coronavirus preparations and cancellations at the college. The hotline can be reached at 805-922-6966, ext. 3887.
City of Guadalupe closes public facilities
The city of Guadalupe is temporarily closing its public facility offices to prevent person-to-person contact in light of coronavirus concerns.
These closures are effective now through at least the end of March. Closures are applied to offices in City Hall, the Fire Department and the Police Department.
Rather than visiting in person, the public is encouraged to utilize facility services via phone and email.
“To protect our community, we need to take serious action now to suppress the spread of COVID-19 which will require temporarily limiting access to City Hall and other city facilities. We will continue to provide services, such as public safety, that our community relies on during these difficult times and will utilize technology to continue to be available to answer questions and provide information," City Administrator Todd Bodem said.
The city also has closed the Senior Center, city auditorium and Veterans Memorial Building until further notice. All public parks will remain open.
City Hall will be open at 7 p.m. March 24 for the scheduled City Council meeting, but public attendance will be limited to requirements for social distancing.
All Advisory Board meetings have been postponed.
Members of the public are encouraged to contact city facilities at the phone numbers and email addresses listed on the city website at http://ci.guadalupe.ca.us/notices/press-release-covid-19-city-facilities-temporarily-closed-english/.
Marian Regional Medical Center prohibits visitors
In order to protect vulnerable patients from potential exposure to coronavirus, Marian Regional Medical Center has implemented guidelines limiting visitors to the hospital and its care facilities.
Patient visits at Marian Regional Medical Center are limited to one care partner who is in good health. However, the public is encouraged to contact their loved ones in the hospital over the phone, if possible.
At Marian Extended Care Center, the hospital's nursing home, visitors are currently prohibited.
Those wishing to contact their loved ones are instructed to call the facility at 855-520-9048 and ask to be transferred to the room of the patient they wish to contact.
Laura Place covers city government for the Santa Maria Times.
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