This page is a resource for families and school administrators regarding COVID-19 and Public Health information. Find out more about the COE’s commitment to the health and wellness of our students, as well as our ongoing programs and partnerships, here. You can also find information on Santa Cruz COE’s official Facebook and Instagram pages.
Preventing the Spread of Illness
As a preventative measure, we encourage all students, staff, and parents to take common-sense precautions to prevent the spread of all infectious diseases, including common illnesses like colds and the flu. Such precautions include:
- Stay home if you are sick. Those who have a fever should go home and stay home for at least 24 hours after they no longer have a fever without the use of fever-reducing medicine.
- Promote hand hygiene among students and staff through education, scheduled times for hand-washing, and ensuring the availability of soap, water, and hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Teach and encourage safe cough etiquette – cough or sneeze into a tissue, sleeve, or arm (do not use hands).
- Provide routine surface cleaning
- Consider not attending large gatherings, as this is where cold, flu, and other respiratory viruses often spread.
COVID-19 Resources and Information
Following the end of California’s COVID-19 State of Emergency on February 28, 2023, and the end of the federal COVID-19 Public Health Emergency on May 11, 2023, ensuring the health and safety of the Santa Cruz County school community remains a priority. The Santa Cruz COE is continuing to work in partnership with school districts, the Public Health Department of Santa Cruz County, and the Pediatric Health Workgroup to provide resources and support to educators and families.
COVID-19 Testing for the School Community
Adequate testing is one of the key components required to be in place in order for schools to remain in-person, safely and prevent the transmission of COVID-19. The Santa Cruz County Office of Education and all Santa Cruz County School Districts, Charters and Private Schools have partnered to make asymptomatic and symptomatic testing available to all school personnel, students, and families at no cost.
Visit our COVID-19 Testing website for updated testing information.
Schools & Districts
Up-to-date COVID-19 Guidance for Reopening Schools at covid19guidance.santacruzcoe.org
Resources for Promoting Hand Hygiene and Wellness:
OPIOID & Overdose PREVENTION
Opioids including fentanyl continue to pose a threat to the Santa Cruz County school community due to the high risk of accidental overdose.
In partnership with the Santa Cruz County school districts and SafeRx Santa Cruz County, the Santa Cruz County Office of Education promotes age-appropriate overdose awareness and prevention training for both staff and families as one way we work to ensure the safety of our school community. These efforts include:
- Distributing “Let’s Talk” booklets to families of students entering 9th grade in English and Spanish, to raise awareness and facilitate conversations about substance use and mental health
- Holding staff trainings on use of naloxone and establishing naloxone policies within all districts
- Expanding partnership with SafeRx Santa Cruz County coalition
- Participating in SafeRx Santa Cruz County’s youth-focused fentanyl town hall
Naloxone, brand named Narcan, is an FDA-approved medication that rapidly reverses an opioid overdose.
As of the 2022-23 school year, all Santa Cruz County school districts and the COE have Naloxone available on each high school campus, as well as staff trained in its use. The COE is working in support of expanding the availability of Naloxone, both on-campus and within the community.
Schools and eligible community partners are able to order Naloxone free of charge through the Department of Healthcare Services Naloxone Distribution Project. Eligibility requirements and an application form are available online on the NDP website. For technical assistance, Santa Cruz County school staff may contact School-Based Health Manager Heather Thomsen at firstname.lastname@example.org.
MPOX INFORMATION & UPDATES
Mpox (Monkeypox) is a virus that spreads through prolonged skin to skin contact, sexual relations, kissing, breathing at very close range, or sharing bedding and clothing. Mpox is rare and currently a low threat to the general public. It can be serious, though most cases resolve on their own. Seeing a doctor right away is important.
Mpox is a public health concern because the illness is similar to smallpox and can be spread from infected humans, animals, and materials contaminated with the virus. Mpox is less transmissible and usually less severe than smallpox.
Mpox was first identified in 1958 and occurs primarily in Central and West African countries. Historically, Mpox cases have rarely occurred in the U.S. and had mostly been related to international travel or importation of animals. There is a recent significant increase in reported cases where MPX is not commonly seen, including in Europe, Canada, the United States and California. While it’s good to stay alert about any emerging public health outbreaks, the current risk of getting Mpox in the general public is low.
Use the resources linked below to learn more about Mpox, how it spreads, symptoms, and how to protect yourself.
Official Communications from the Santa Cruz County Office of Education