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Santa Cruz COE News

Masking to Shift to Strong Recommendation After March 11

Dear community members,

As many of you know, the statewide mandate requiring masking in schools is ending after March 11 as COVID-19 cases continue to decline. While the legal requirement for masking in schools is phasing out, masking indoors at schools will remain strongly recommended by the California Department of Public Health. In keeping with that guidance, we will continue to strongly recommend students and staff to wear masks at school after March 11. For details, please review the recent letter written by all Superintendents in the County to families by clicking the button below.

The challenging Omicron surge, thankfully, appears behind us. The most recent data from our own COVID-19 testing program shows a daily positivity rate in our schools of under 1% – compared to a peak of about 12% late in January. This data comes as a welcome relief, and a result of the collective work of so many in our community. But the pandemic is not over, and we have learned over these past two years how quickly circumstances may change. 

While we welcome the ability to move forward with lifting restrictions, we will remain vigilant. Working with Public Health and local pediatricians, we will continue closely monitoring daily positivity rates, clusters of positive cases, and other key metrics to determine if additional measures are needed to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in our community. 

We must also persist in utilizing other effective mitigations, including vaccination of all those eligible, staying home when ill, utilizing testing where appropriate and reducing opportunities for exposure. The COE is hosting additional COVID-19 vaccine clinics on March 12 and March 19, and we encourage anyone eligible who has not yet received their vaccine or booster to attend.

Yours in education and equity,
Dr. Faris Sabbah
County Superintendent of Schools

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