Community Update July 23, 2021

It Takes a Village

With COVID-19 cases rising once again both locally and statewide, it’s even more important that each of us does our part to keep our school communities safe.

Santa Cruz County health officials are now advising that we wear masks while indoors to curb the spread of COVID-19, particularly the more infectious Delta variant spreading at a high rate mostly among our unvaccinated population. At the Santa Cruz COE, we listened to local health officials’ advice and reinstated the masking requirement at all of our facilities. As many of you know, under CDPH guidance all students, educators and visitors are also required to wear masks while inside schools this coming year.

It’s understandable that some in our community are disheartened by these policies, but let’s not forget how far we’ve come already. I could not be more proud of the collaboration we’ve seen between all of our schools, educators and families. Now is the time to keep following the science and prioritizing our communities’ health so we don’t let that progress slip through our fingers.

The single most important thing you can do is this: Ensure everyone in your family who is eligible is fully vaccinated before the school year begins next month. Vaccines are free, safe and effective, and they not only protect students and families but educators and the wider community. Getting vaccinated is supported by science, and advised by health officials at the county, state and federal government. If you haven’t already, find out how to get vaccinated at

Help Us Stuff The Bus

Every year, Santa Cruz County Office of Education and United Way team up to host Stuff The Bus — gathering essential backpacks and school supplies to help prepare thousands of underserved youth for the new school year.

We provide these backpacks and supplies to youth currently experiencing homelessness or other hardships. These supplies are especially crucial this year as families are still displaced by the CZU fire and as schools transition back to full in-person instruction.

Help us send students back to school with the supplies they need by teaming up with the Santa Cruz County Office of Education and United Way of Santa Cruz County to Stuff The Bus by Aug. 7. Your $25 donation provides a student with all the supplies they need to succeed. 

Workshop to teach self-care

Recent wildfires and the COVID pandemic have stressed our community in multiple ways. Unresolved, this distress can damage our health and limit our potential for rebuilding a strong community. As we move forward in our physical recovery, it is critical that we are also mindful about our emotional recovery. Please join us for a 2-hour self-care workshop with Dr. James Gordon, Founder and Executive Director for The Center for Mind Body Medicine.

During this dynamic workshop, you will:

  • Explore the connection between traumatic events and emotional/physical health.
  • Practice evidence-based self-care tools to enhance health and well-being.
  • Learn about CMBM’s community-led model for transforming trauma and promoting community healing

When: 1 p.m. Aug. 5


Bridging The Digital Divide

Gov. Newsom yesterday signed legislation investing $6 billion in broadband infrastructure and internet access for unserved and underserved communities across California.

Here in Santa Cruz County, the COE and school districts have gone to great lengths to help families close the digital divide — reducing the number of families without reliable connections from 18% to 3% since the start of the pandemic. But too many of those families lack broadband connections. This legislation represents an important step to address the need.