Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates

Updated: March 31, 2020, 2:49 p.m.

Date: March 27, 2020

To: Santa Cruz County Students and Families

Re: Extension of School Closures through May 5, 2020

Dear Families of Santa Cruz County,

All Santa Cruz County school Superintendents in mutual agreement with Santa Cruz County’s Public Health Officer feel it is appropriate and necessary to extend the period of school closures through May 5th, 2020 to reduce the spread of COVID-19 to the maximum extent possible. The safety, health, and wellbeing of students, school personnel, and the community are the highest priorities of all schools and districts. Building on the regional coordination of jurisdictions within Santa Cruz County, school districts and the Santa Cruz County Office of Education continue to work together to align our strategies and practices in regard to this unprecedented crisis.  Schools will continue to provide essential services during this time such as nutrition services and continuity of learning services. 

Schools will observe the routinely scheduled break in services to students during the week of spring break. During this time, schools will not be offering food services nor distance learning. Pajaro Valley Unified School District, spring break will take place from March 31 through April 3. All other districts will observe spring break from April 6 – April 10.

As we transition into spending more time indoors and are grappling with all the challenges that come with it, schools recognize the need to continue providing social and emotional support to families.  Parents and students are being asked to help cultivate an environment conducive to learning at home while they manage unanticipated consequences of the COVID-19 crisis, which often compounds stress for families at home.  To this end, all ten Superintendents and the County Office of Education in collaboration with local counseling, parenting and support services agencies are working to develop ways to help students and parents address these needs. We have created a webpage with detailed resources located at sccoe.link/wellness. Efforts are also underway in districts to offer online/virtual support and networking experiences for students and parents to ensure there are places for families to share, learn and lean on each other in these challenging times.

During this time, Santa Cruz County residents are expected to strictly adhere to the “Shelter in Place” order issued by Governor Newsom and Public Health Officer, Dr. Gail Newel. In addition, all residents are urged to keep practicing the guidance provided by Public Health including:

  • Social distancing
  • Washing hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
  • Staying home if you are feeling sick
  • Contacting your healthcare provider if you are experiencing any symptoms such as fever, cough, or difficulty breathing.
  • Engaging in regular exercise or physical activity

This is a dynamic situation where information and circumstances can evolve quickly. We are working diligently to ensure our online resources are updated regularly with the most accurate information from public health authorities. Please utilize the following resources: 

 

It’s crucial that our counties receive adequate state and federal funding to provide crucial resources and services to the communities they serve, especially in times of crisis. One way that we can advocate for continuity of fair federal and state funding to our area is to help ensure Santa Cruz County is accurately counted in the 2020 Census. The Census is a simple 9 question survey and responses are confidential and protected by law. Every Californian can now respond to the Census online at https://my2020census.gov, by phone, or by mail. For more information and frequently asked questions, please visit california census.org

We acknowledge the ongoing challenges and hardship that extended school closures pose for students and families. As educators, administrators, and school staff, we are committed to ensuring students have the resources and services they need to continue their academic progress despite school closures. We commend our school community for the flexibility, dedication, and resilience they continue to demonstrate to make continuity of these vital services possible. 

 

Sincerely,

 

Laurie Bruton, Superintendent, San Lorenzo Valley Unified School District

Lorie Chamberland, Superintendent, Live Oak School District

Eric Gross, Superintendent, Pacific Elementary School District

Mike Heffner, Superintendent, Bonny Doon Union Elementary School District

Tanya Krause, Superintendent, Scotts Valley Unified School District

Michelle McKinny, Superintendent, Happy Valley Elementary School District

Diane Morgenstern, Superintendent, Mountain Elementary School District

Kris Munro, Superintendent, Santa Cruz City Schools

Michelle Rodriguez, Superintendent, Pajaro Valley Unified School District

Faris Sabbah, County Superintendent of Schools 

Scott Turnbull, Superintendent, Soquel Union Elementary School District



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General Guidelines for Schools:

As a preventative measure, we encourage all students, staff, and parents to take common-sense precautions to prevent 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.

General Guidelines for Parents:

    • Get your flu shot to protect against flu or symptoms similar to those of COVID-19
    • Make sure you have a supply of all essential medications for your entire family
    • Make a child care plan if you or a caregiver are sick
    • Make arrangements about how your family will manage a school closure
    • Make a plan for how you can care for a sick family member without getting yourself sick
    • If you have recently returned from regions with ongoing COVID-19 impacts, monitor your health and immediately contact your physician if you experience flu-like symptoms.

Public Communications:

Resources for School Administrators:

Resources for Promoting Hand Hygiene and Wellness:

Resources for Current Information: