Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates

Updated March 24, 2020, 5:03 p.m.

To: Santa Cruz County Students and Families

Date: March 20, 2020

Re: Update on Services Through School Closures

Dear Families of Santa Cruz County,

School Districts and the County Office of Education continue to work together to provide our students and families with essential services throughout school closures due to COVID-19. Though our county’s school districts vary in size and resources, we are equally committed to the success and wellness of our students, and are sharing expertise and resources between districts whenever possible.  

Yesterday, Governor Gavin Newsom issued a statewide Shelter in Place order to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). This order does not change directions previously issued to Santa Cruz County residents, but rather only directs other California counties to adhere to the same restrictions. The Governor has not specified an end date to the order, but anticipates school closures to continue into the summer months. It is our responsibility as a school community to be prepared for the possibility of a long closure. In a previous communication, we shared that schools will be closed through April 10, 2020. We will continue to work with public health authorities to determine the appropriate length of school closures across Santa Cruz County as more information becomes available. 

Teachers throughout Santa Cruz County have been working diligently to prepare and plan for distance learning. We intend to provide all students from Transitional Kindergarten to 12th grade with learning materials that ensure their access to high-quality education throughout the closures. We recognize the challenges distance learning poses for families and are committed to supporting parents in helping their children access education from home. 

We are currently in the planning stages of how services specific to Special Education students will be delivered based on individual student needs.  For students with Individualized Education Plans (IEP), our Special Education staff or classroom teachers will be in contact with parents to review what to expect in the upcoming weeks.  This may include, but is not limited to, virtual service delivery and/or consultation with providers via phone, email, or other use of technology in order to supplement packets or materials sent home, as appropriate. 

We are working to help ensure all families have equitable access to internet services at home. Several internet service providers in the community are now offering free or low cost internet service to low income families. Internet access is key to help facilitate our efforts to offer engaging distance learning opportunities for students and help families learn about how they can access essential services in the community. Please visit sccoe.link/internet to learn how your family may qualify for free or low cost internet services.

School Superintendents continue to work closely together and with the Department of Public Health to share information and make informed decisions on behalf of our school community.  We ask that parents adhere to the “Shelter in Place Order”, practice social distancing, and proper personal hygiene practices to minimize the risks of exposure and transmission of illness at home. 

Parents are encouraged to call or email their child’s school or district prior to visiting the site in person if they have questions or need services beyond the food programs available to their student or to pick up distance learning materials. 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.

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: 

Now more than ever, the continued education of our students despite school closures represents a strong partnership between teachers, classified staff, and other educators and parents and guardians. We commend our school community for the flexibility, commitment, and resilience they have demonstrated 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

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View Prior Updates here ‎

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: