Tag Archives: Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Tune in to view the Mayor’s virtual ‘State of Your Community’ address

San Marcos Mayor Rebecca Jones has recorded a virtual ‘State of Your Community’ address to keep residents in the know about all things San Marcos. Click here to tune in!

Although hosting a ‘State of Your Community’ event isn’t currently possible due to COVID-19, the Mayor felt a virtual presentation would provide a helpful update to residents. In her address, she covers a wide range of topics including: Community safety, quality of life, supporting local businesses, lending a helping hand, the importance of community input, healthcare and education and infrastructure and mobility.

“2020 has certainly been a challenging year, unlike anything we have experienced before,” Mayor Jones said. “Yet the resilience I’ve witnessed in our community has been absolutely astounding. From businesses navigating uncharted waters and families supporting each other, to online solutions for what we used to do in person and creative new communications tools that are helping us bridge the gaps. I am incredibly proud of who we are and how we have adapted.”

The Mayor’s ‘State of Your Community’ address will air on San Marcos Television at 2:30 p.m., and can be viewed anytime on the City of San Marcos Youtube channel here.

To The San Marcos Unified School District Community from Tiffany Campbell Ed.D

To Our SMUSD Community:

Last evening at the Regular Meeting of the Governing Board, it was announced that an amicable separation has occurred between Dr. Carmen García and the San Marcos Unified School District. Dr. García’s full goodbye statement can be read here.  We thank Dr. Garcia for her service to the District, its students, employees and community, and we wish her well in future endeavors.

In light of Dr. Garcia’s departure, I have been placed as Acting Superintendent while our district begins the process of transitioning to new leadership. I have had the privilege of being a member of the SMUSD community for fifteen years, serving as principal of San Marcos Middle School and San Marcos High School before moving to the district office to serve as Director of Secondary Education, Assistant Superintendent of Equity and Secondary Schools, and my current position as Assistant Superintendent of Instructional Services.  My joy as an employee of this district has been eclipsed only by my joy of being a parent here as I have watched my daughter thrive in her elementary years at Joli Ann Leichtag and blossom into a self-confident seventh grader within the supportive environment of San Marcos Middle School.  It is through this lens, as a grateful employee and thankful parent within the SMUSD community, that I will work to serve as a collaborative partner with all of you as we move into the next phase of our school year.

I am happy to report that our Governing Board approved Safe School Reopening plans for both Elementary and Secondary schools, paving the way for a return to in-person instruction for our students when viable.  Details of the Elementary 2-Day Combo plan with possible phase-in timelines can be found here and the Secondary A/B Hybrid plan with its phases/timelines can be found here. Lastly, a discussion of questions and answers related to the safety protocols and instructional models that will be in place for the in-person return can be accessed here.

One additional note from our Board Meeting highlights.  Last night was the final meeting for Mark Schiel, our current Assistant Superintendent of Business Services.  Mr. Schiel has been an invaluable and trusted member of our SMUSD team for over five years; his knowledge, passion, and innovation has been an asset to our district.  As he transitions to his new role as Chief Business Official of Santa Clara Unified School District, I offer him a collective thank you from our district and a personal one from me; you will be missed.

As we ramp up our preparations for In-Person learning, you will be receiving additional communications in the upcoming days.

Warm Regards,

Tiffany Campbell, Ed.D

Smoke-free outdoor dining

As the death, disease, and financial devastation wrought by COVID-19 begins to recede in some communities, people who live in the San Elijo Hills community are wondering how best to protect their families as San Marcos moves to re-open restaurants and other businesses.

As a resident of San Elijo Hills, and as the Program Supervisor for Vista Community Clinic’s Tobacco Control Program, I have been learning a lot about the interaction between COVID-19 and tobacco and what it means for our families, friends, and neighbors. The combination of smoking/vaping and COVID-19 can be deadly – not just for those who use these products, but for people who may be exposed to secondhand or thirdhand smoke in their homes or in outdoor dining areas.

Residents are fortunate that almost every San Elijo Hills restaurant has voluntarily made its outdoor dining area smoke-free. Unfortunately, many restaurants in other parts of San Marcos still permit smoking outdoors, even during the COVID-19 pandemic. Check our online guide to find other San Marcos restaurants that offer healthy, smoke-free air: http://northcoastalpreventioncoalition.org/programs/tc/sfod/guide/. 

Smoke-free outdoor dining helps people smoke less and do less damage to their lungs’ ability to fight off infections. Doctors are warning those who smoke or vape that they are at risk of developing more severe COVID-19 symptoms. (See: https://tobaccofreeca.com/health/covid-19-stop-smoking-and-vaping/?gclid=Cj0KCQjwuJz3BRDTARIsAMg-HxUrfGS2-LwXhn_lcFCw4av7b_4F4MQfvKHwbcCaAHWu4t-8fMIO9JgaAvLJEALw_wcB)

The benefits of smoke-free air where we live, work, and play go beyond those who smoke or vape. It is possible that secondhand smoke exhaled by an infected person can spread COVID-19 to others. Secondhand smoke spreads quickly, is detectable more than 6 feet away, and remains airborne for a long time. The California Tobacco Control Program warns, “When people are smoking or vaping, they are also exhaling particulates from deep within their lungs into the environment around them.” (See: https://tobaccofreeca.com/health/covid-19-and-tobacco-what-you-need-to-know/)

Now, researchers at San Diego State University are warning us about thirdhand smoke and COVID-19,  saying that the coronavirus may be spread in indoor environments by “hitching a ride” on particles exhaled during smoking and vaping, and that the particles may linger for days on surfaces and in dust where thirdhand smoke and vapors accumulate. (See: https://thirdhandsmoke.org/dont-let-covid-19-hitch-a-ride/)

Last fall, well before COVID-19 captured our attention, Vista Community Clinic sponsored a series of community forums on secondhand smoke attended by more than 85 San Marcos residents. Many lived in apartments and expressed concern about secondhand smoke drifting into their units. “I am bothered by secondhand smoke in the apartment complex where I live. People are sometimes smoking around my kids, and my kids sometimes are curious to pick up cigarettes with their bare hands,” said Norma Vazquez. 

Other participants were concerned about exposure to secondhand smoke in outdoor dining areas. “This hits close to the heart for me because my mum passed away when I was 12 years old because of an asthma attack. I have asthma and my daughter tends to wheeze and has an inhaler,” said San Elijo Hills resident Sharmin Jesuthasan. “While we love sitting outdoors enjoying a meal at a restaurant, we typically don’t go if others are smoking in the outdoor dining area.”  

I encourage residents to thank restaurants in San Elijo Hills for their leadership in offering smoke-free outdoor dining to protect our health. For more ideas about what you can do to promote smoke-free air, contact Jennifer.Gill@vcc.org. 

A COVID Education

COVID-19 certainly surprised us all. As public health mandates were implemented and businesses responded, it became clear that no industry was safe from COVID – even the ones we traditionally think of as “recession proof.” Instead, many organizations had to adapt quickly (very quickly) to ever evolving protocols because, pandemic or no pandemic, people needed them.

Educational institutions in San Marcos did just that.

San Marcos is a hub of education with eight institutions of higher learning, so when COVID-19 impacted campuses mid-semester, our educational leaders had to adjust quickly. California State University San Marcos (CSUSM) and Palomar College, for example, both pivoted to online learning offerings in a just few days, which is no small feat considering the adjustments necessary to evolve experiential classes (laboratories, student teaching, art studios, internships, performances, community engagement, group projects, etc.) to an online setting.

“We were able to transition to distance learning in four days,” said CSUSM President Dr. Ellen Neufeldt. “So much credit needs to go to our faculty and staff for adapting so proficiently. Of course, some classes were easier than others, but I am really proud of how quickly we were able to respond to the realities of COVID-19 and maintain our level of student support.”

Similarly, Palomar College’s acting Superintendent/President Dr. Jack Kahn remarked at how the challenge of transitioning to distance learning provided some collateral benefits that can be applied to future semesters. “We have seen several instances of improved practices, innovations and collaborations across the campus,” said Dr. Kahn. “We have also provided an incredible amount of professional development to faculty and staff over the last months which has also helped us prepare [for future semesters].”

Both institutions strongly emphasized their commitment to fostering continued student success efforts, even with new dynamics resulting from online courses, and they see a potential for online education to reach new students in the future.

“As faculty are learning more and getting excited about opportunities we believe there will be more online options in the schedule in the future,” continued Dr. Kahn. “By increasing these options, we will increase access to education, especially for our students who typically hold down one or more jobs in order to make a living in San Diego County.”

Dr. Neufeldt echoed the value of blending online with in-person pedagogy and noted the need for “innovation for all.” “We stand ready to serve and support our students find a sense of community during COVID,” said Dr. Neufeldt. “Our campus has been committed to serving the needs of our community since the beginning, and the adjustments we’ve made in response to COVID are inspiring us to innovate our way forward.”

As public health restrictions are rolled back, CSUSM and Palomar College are looking forward to striking the appropriate balance between online and in-person learning to the benefit of students and the greater San Marcos community.

“By opening up access to education through our online delivery, many residents will find they are able to attend college while continuing to work in their current fields, raise a family, and continue to meet their obligations while improving their marketability through advancing their education,” said Dr. Kahn.

Cal State San Marcos also appreciates that by exploring new methods for making courses accessible remotely, it can strengthen its ability to provide a multitude of learning modalities that could potentially reach non-traditional students who are not recent high school graduates.

Planning for the fall semester is well underway and both institutions are currently offering robust online summer sessions with full enrollment numbers.

As COVID relief efforts continue and businesses reopen, San Marcos’ higher education leaders offer a reminder that they are here to serve the business community. “We always invite businesses to be our partners, so we can best serve our students and the City of San Marcos,” said Dr. Neufeldt. “We’re here to support our community now and beyond COVID.”

Discover Our Recovery Business Safety Promise

At the City of San Marcos, the health and safety of our community is our top priority. The COVID-19 crisis is impacting everyone in San Marcos, including our local businesses that are currently open or preparing to reopen when public health guidelines allow.
The City is happy to support and assist with the San Marcos Chamber of Commerce’s Discover Our Recovery Business Safety Promise. The Chamber’s program is designed to help business owners communicate their commitment to following all public health orders and guidelines from the State of California, the County of San Diego, the City of San Marcos and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to help protect their employees, customers and the community.
Business owners that make the Discover Our Recovery Business Safety Promise below can display the decal in their windows to let customers know that the businesses has committed to take all the County’s recommended precautions to help provide a safe environment.
Let’s help our community move forward safely together.

Make the Promise and Download the Toolkit

You can learn more about the program, make the Promise and download a multimedia toolkit on the Chamber’s website here. By downloading the toolkit and/or using the graphics, you are promising to follow the guidelines.
Window decals for businesses that make the Promise will be available soon! Please stay tuned for details.

Stay Updated

For the most up-to-date information, please visit the City’s COVID-19 Response webpage: www.san-marcos.net/covid19.

Stay Active with Virtual Recreation from The City of San Marcos

At the City of San Marcos, we appreciate everything our residents are doing to combat the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). We also understand that staying indoors can be tough, especially with beautiful spring sunshine peeking through the clouds.

The health and safety of our community is our top priority, and it is more important than ever for us to stay engaged, active and connected.

That’s why we created a virtual recreation page and virtual recreation video series to bring some fun into your home and help kids and adults beat boredom and stay physically and mentally healthy.

Head over to www.san-marcos.net/virtualrec and connect with us on the City’s Parks and Recreation Facebook group, along with our Twitter and Instagram channels, to join in the fun. You can find the entire Virtual Recreation Playlist on our YouTube channel.

We designed these resources to provide information and support to help our residents achieve their health, wellness, and educational goals through this unprecedented time. We are all in this together. Stay healthy and strong, San Marcos!

For more information about the City’s response to COVID-19, visit. www.san-marcos.net/covid19.