Dear Santa Cruz County families,
We are aware of messages trending nationwide on social media that encourage students to call in false threats to schools on Friday, December 17, 2021. There is no indication of any threat to a Santa Cruz County school. However, we take these rumors very seriously. We are in close communication with law enforcement, who have assigned extra resources out of an abundance of caution. The Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office has also released a statement on this matter.
Additionally, there are several important updates to share as we head into winter break. COVID-19 cases in our schools increased markedly following the Thanksgiving break, a trend that we anticipated and are closely monitoring with our public health partners. These circumstances, along with the presence of the Omicron variant in our state, emphasize the importance of proven public health measures. If you are eligible for a vaccination or a booster shot and have yet to receive it, we urge that you do so without delay.
School community testing and vaccination clinic hours will be limited during the break, with regular hours resuming Jan. 3. Please review the holiday schedule for our three Drive-Thru community Clinics:
- December 20-22: 9 a.m.-2 p.m.
- December 23-26: CLOSED
- December 27-29: 9 a.m.-2 p.m.
- December 30-January 1: CLOSED
- January 2 (Sunday): 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Please review school community testing locations and hours here.
To ensure our return from winter break is as safe and seamless as possible, please follow these tips:
- Get vaccinated, including a booster. Everyone 5+ is eligible for a vaccine, and everyone 16+ is eligible for a booster. For appointments, see santacruzcoe.org/vaccines, santacruzhealth.org/coronavirusvaccine, MyTurn.ca.gov, or call (833) 422-4255.
- Stay home if sick. Anyone feeling sick and experiencing symptoms should stay home from school, isolate, and get tested.
- Wear a face mask indoors and in crowded settings. Be sure it seals around your face.
- Keep hands clean. Remind children and others to wash, or sanitize their hands regularly, especially prior to eating, preparing or serving food.
- Get Tested before AND after traveling. If you are traveling during the holidays, get tested before travel, upon return, and again 3-5 days later.
- Consider testing before returning to school in January. It is especially essential to the safety of our school community for students to be tested before returning to the classroom. This will reduce the likelihood of outbreaks in our schools after the Winter Break.
As of this past Wednesday, a masking mandate is in effect statewide. The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has stated this mandate does not impact existing guidance in place at schools, including guidance regarding indoor sports. Further information can be found on the CDPH website.
We know these past few months have been challenging for many families and educators. Yet alongside these challenges have come so many inspiring moments of resilience and success, and we could not be more proud of the resilience displayed by students, parents, teachers, support staff and parents over these past few months. Now, it’s time for a well-deserved break, and we hope you are able to stay safe, celebrate, and recharge. From all of us, we wish you and your family joyful holidays, a restful break, and a Happy New Year.
Yours in education and equity,
Santa Cruz County Superintendents