Prior Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates

Updated: March 13, 2020, 4:00 p.m.

Date: March 12, 2020

To: Families of Santa Cruz County

Re: All Santa Cruz County School Closure March 16 – 20, 2020

 

Dear Families of Santa Cruz County,

The safety and wellness of students, families, and school personnel are the highest priorities of all Santa Cruz County schools and districts. Yesterday, we received notification of the first confirmed case of COVID-19 at Rio Del Mar Elementary School. In advance of more COVID-19 cases that are anticipated to follow, School District Superintendents and the Santa Cruz County Office of Education have decided in concurrence with the Santa Cruz County Health Services Agency to close all public Santa Cruz County schools for the week of March 16-20. We will reassess at the end of next week whether an extension of school closures beyond March 20th will be necessary. Santa Cruz County Public Health Officer, Dr. Gail Newel, reported that while the number of cases in our county remains small at this time, the Santa Cruz County Public Health Division expects those numbers to grow significantly in the coming days and weeks which may require a continued response. 

Schools will remain in session tomorrow, March 13, 2020. This will provide students an opportunity to receive direction and gather educational materials from their teachers. Our school staff will work together throughout the closure to provide the vital services and resources our schools offer to our community, including, but not limited to, free and reduced meal programs. Schools will be contacting families promptly about services available to them throughout the closure.

Several other districts in California and across the country have made similar choices, including San Francisco Unified School District, Carmel Unified School District, the state of Ohio, and the state of Maryland. 

While we recognize this decision will pose challenges and hardship to many families in our county, the most effective way to slow and disrupt the transmission of this pandemic is by implementing social distancing practices. During the time of the school closure, we are asking that students and families follow the County’s Public Health Officer’s directive to stay home and minimize social contact to the extent possible. Protecting public health requires a community-wide response, and we will need the help of families to help remain united in our response. While children have not been shown to be a high-risk group for serious illness from COVID-19, they are still able to transmit the virus to populations who are most vulnerable to serious illness, such as older adults and those with compromised immune systems. Please encourage students to avoid large public gatherings such as malls, movie theaters, and other spaces, especially those that are indoors. 

We understand that implementing these changes with such limited notice is challenging and disruptive, and we appreciate your patience and cooperation. We are grateful to community members throughout our county for their tremendous efforts during these challenging times.

This is a dynamic situation where information and circumstances can evolve quickly. For the latest updates, visit the Centers for Disease Control 2019 novel coronavirus website at: https://www.cdc.gov/COVID19. The Santa Cruz County Office of Education continues to update its web page at www.sccoe.link/coronavirus. For ideas on how to talk to your children about COVID-19 please visit: sccoe.link/talking_about_COVID19. For local information, residents may visit www.santacruzhealth.org/coronavirus, call 211 or text “coronavirus” to 211211. 

 

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

 

Fecha: 12 de marzo de 2020

Re: Cierre de todas las escuelas del condado del 16 de marzo al 20 de marzo de 2020

Estimadas familias del condado de Santa Cruz:

La seguridad y el bienestar de los estudiantes, las familias y el personal escolar son las principales prioridades de todas las escuelas y distritos del condado de Santa Cruz. Ayer, recibimos notificación del primer caso confirmado de COVID-19 en la Escuela Primaria Rio Del Mar. Antes de más casos de COVID-19 que se espera que sigan, los Superintendentes del Distrito Escolar y la Oficina de Educación del Condado de Santa Cruz han decidido, junto con la Agencia de Servicios de Salud del Condado de Santa Cruz, cerrar todas las escuelas públicas del Condado de Santa Cruz durante la semana de marzo 16-20. Al final de la próxima semana volveremos a evaluar si será necesaria una extensión de los cierres escolares más allá del 20 de marzo. La Dra. Gail Newel, Oficial de Salud Pública del Condado de Santa Cruz, informó que aunque el número de casos en nuestro condado sigue siendo pequeño en este momento, la División de Salud Pública del Condado de Santa Cruz espera que esos números crezcan de manera significante en los próximos días y semanas, lo que puede requerir una respuesta continua.

Las escuelas permanecerán en sesión mañana, 13 de marzo de 2020. Esto brindará a los estudiantes la oportunidad de recibir instrucciones y reunir materiales educativos de sus maestros. El personal de nuestra escuela trabajará en conjunto durante el cierre para proporcionar los servicios y recursos vitales que nuestras escuelas ofrecen a nuestra comunidad, incluidos, entre otros, programas de comidas gratis o de precio reducido. Las escuelas se pondrán en contacto con las familias a la brevedad sobre los servicios disponibles para ellos durante todo el cierre.

Varios otros distritos en California y en todo el país han tomado decisiones similares, incluido el Distrito Escolar Unificado de San Francisco, el Distrito Escolar Unificado Carmel, el estado de Ohio y el estado de Maryland.

Aunque que esta decisión planteará desafíos y dificultades a muchas familias en nuestro condado, la forma más efectiva de frenar e interrumpir la transmisión de esta pandemia es mediante la implementación de prácticas de distanciamiento social. Durante el cierre de la escuela, solicitamos que los estudiantes y las familias sigan las instrucciones del Oficial de Salud Pública del Condado de quedarse en casa y minimizar el contacto social en la medida de lo posible. Proteger la salud pública requiere una respuesta de toda la comunidad, y necesitaremos la ayuda de las familias para ayudar a permanecer unidos en nuestra respuesta. Si bien no se ha demostrado que los niños sean un grupo de alto riesgo de enfermedades graves por COVID-19, aún pueden transmitir el virus a las poblaciones más vulnerables a enfermedades graves, como los adultos mayores y aquellos con sistemas inmunes comprometidos. Aliente a los estudiantes a evitar grandes reuniones públicas como centros comerciales, cines y otros espacios, especialmente aquellos que están en el interior.

Entendemos que implementar estos cambios con un aviso tan limitado es un reto, y agradecemos su paciencia y cooperación. Estamos agradecidos con los miembros de la comunidad en todo nuestro condado por sus enormes esfuerzos durante estos tiempos difíciles.

Esta es una situación dinámica donde la información y las circunstancias pueden evolucionar rápidamente. Para obtener las últimas actualizaciones, visite el sitio web de coronavirus novedoso de los Centros para el Control de Enfermedades 2019 en: https://www.cdc.gov/COVID19. La Oficina de Educación del Condado de Santa Cruz continúa actualizando su página web en www.sccoe.link/coronavirus. Para obtener ideas sobre cómo hablar con sus hijos sobre COVID-19, visite: sccoe.link/talking_about_COVID19. Para obtener información local, los residentes pueden visitar www.santacruzhealth.org/coronavirus, llamar al 211 o enviar un mensaje de texto con la palabra “coronavirus” al 211211.

 

Sinceramente,

 

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

 

Updated: March 9, 2020 12:39 p.m.

Date: March 8, 2020

Re: Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update to Families


Dear Santa Cruz County families:

Yesterday we were notified by Santa Cruz County Public Health of the first confirmed  COVID-19 diagnosis in Santa Cruz County. Santa Cruz County Public Health is conducting a thorough investigation to identify any potential exposures that may have occurred. 

While COVID-19 represents a serious public health threat, the risk to Santa Cruz County residents remains low. However, as the outbreak continues to spread, Santa Cruz County Public Health anticipate there will be additional reported local cases and is prepared to investigate potential exposures, and continues collaborating with local, state and federal agencies to implement containment efforts while providing notifications to the public and community agencies as the situation evolves. 

On March 6, Public Health Officer, Dr. Gail Newel met with leaders and health personnel from school districts, the County Office of Education, charter schools, and private schools to provide an update, answer questions, and review response plans. Earlier this week, Dr. Newel declared a local health emergency, and the County activated its Emergency Operation Center (EOC) to bolster response efforts. The school districts continue to work collectively to address the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and are in frequent contact with the County. 

Cleaning, Disinfecting, and Sanitizing Protocols
Districts met Friday to review and update our cleaning, disinfecting and sanitizing protocols. We reviewed the materials, equipment, training, and proper protective equipment as part of a broad approach to preventing infectious diseases in schools in line with recommendations from the CDC. Our protocols include the daily sanitizing of surfaces and objects that are touched often within classrooms, public spaces, and school buses. Cleaning agents being utilized are approved by the Environmental Protection Agency and rated as effective against COVID-19. This countywide team reaffirmed our commitment to support every school district to ensure these protocols are implemented consistently and effectively.

 

 

School Closures

At this point no school closures are taking place in Santa Cruz County. Closing schools is a difficult decision as it has impacts on students, families and employers. In accordance with guidance from the California Department of Public Health and our County Health Officer school closure will be a measure to be taken if one student, teacher or staff member tests positive for COVID-19 and exposed others at the school. The length of time of the closure will be based on the risk level as determined by the local public health officer, though it is expected that such closure would be for a minimum of 14 days. During this time, the school will undergo deep cleaning and sanitizing. We are making preparations for continuity of education through distance learning solutions for students in the advent of school closure. It is important for parents to prepare for the possibility of a school closure. 

 

Field Trips and Student Competitions
Out of an abundance of caution, we have made the difficult decision to cancel all field trips with destinations outside of Santa Cruz County. Travel restrictions to athletic and music competitions will be handled on a case by case basis to minimize risk to students and staff.


Preventative Measures

We are continuing our efforts to help ensure students and parents/guardians have accurate information about how they can help protect themselves and their families. We are urging students and families who are sick to please stay home and contact their health care provider if necessary. 

The Santa Cruz County Public Health Division continues to advise the following steps to prevent the spread of flu will also guard against the spread of COVID-19: 

  • wash hands frequently with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds;
  • use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available;
  • get your flu shot to protect against flu or symptoms similar to COVID-19;
  • avoid close contact with people who are sick;
  • cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash;
  • avoid shaking hands;
  • clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using regular household cleaning supplies;
  • avoid touching your face with unwashed hands;
  • stay home from school or work when you are sick; and
  • call your primary care provider for instructions BEFORE seeking in-person care for flu-like symptoms

 

This is an emerging situation where information and circumstances can evolve quickly. For the latest updates, visit the Centers for Disease Control 2019 novel coronavirus website at: https://www.cdc.gov/COVID19. The Santa Cruz County Office of Education continues to update its web page at www.sccoe.link/coronavirus.

 

For local information, residents may visit www.santacruzhealth.org/coronavirus, call 211 or text “coronavirus” to 211211. Messaging rates may apply. Thank you. 

 

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

 

 

Fecha: 8 de marzo de 2020

 

Re: Actualización de Coronavirus (COVID-19) para las familias

 

Estimadas familias del condado de Santa Cruz:

 

Ayer, el Departamento de Salud Pública del Condado de Santa Cruz nos notificó el primer diagnóstico confirmado de COVID-19 en el Condado de Santa Cruz. Están llevando a cabo una investigación exhaustiva para identificar cualquier posible exposición que pueda haber ocurrido

 

Aunque COVID-19 representa una amenaza seria para la salud pública, el riesgo para los residentes del condado de Santa Cruz sigue siendo bajo. Sin embargo, a medida que el brote continúa propagándose, el Departamento de Salud Pública del Condado de Santa Cruz anticipa que habrá casos locales adicionales reportados y está preparado para investigar posibles exposiciones, y continúa colaborando con agencias locales, estatales y federales para implementar esfuerzos de contención mientras proporciona notificaciones al público. y agencias comunitarias a medida que evoluciona la situación.

 

El 6 de marzo, la Dra. Gail Newel, Oficial de Salud Pública, se reunió con líderes y personal de salud de los distritos escolares, la Oficina de Educación del Condado, las escuelas autónomas y las escuelas privadas para proporcionar una actualización, responder preguntas y revisar los planes de respuesta. A principios de esta semana, la Dra. Newel declaró una emergencia de salud local, y el Condado activó su Centro de Operaciones de Emergencia (EOC) para reforzar los esfuerzos de respuesta. Los distritos escolares continúan trabajando colectivamente para abordar el nuevo brote de coronavirus (COVID-19) y están en contacto frecuente con el Condado.

 

Protocolos de limpieza y desinfección

Los distritos se reunieron el viernes para revisar y actualizar nuestros protocolos de limpieza y desinfección. Revisamos los materiales, el equipo, la capacitación y el equipo de protección adecuado como parte de un enfoque amplio para prevenir enfermedades infecciosas en las escuelas de acuerdo con las recomendaciones de los CDC. Nuestros protocolos incluyen la desinfección diaria de superficies y objetos que se tocan a menudo dentro de las aulas, espacios públicos y autobuses escolares. Los agentes de limpieza serán aprobados por la Agencia de Protección Ambiental y clasificados como efectivos contra COVID-19. Este equipo del condado reafirmó nuestro compromiso de apoyar a cada distrito escolar para garantizar que estos protocolos se implementan de manera consistente y efectiva.

 

Cierres de escuelas

En este punto no se están cerrando escuelas en el condado de Santa Cruz. Cerrar las escuelas es una decisión difícil ya que tiene un impacto en los estudiantes, las familias y los empleadores. De acuerdo con los consejos del Departamento de Salud Pública de California y nuestro Oficial de Salud del Condado, se cerrará la escuela si un estudiante, maestro o miembro del personal es diagnosticado con COVID-19 y expone a otros en la escuela. El período de tiempo del cierre se basará en el nivel de riesgo determinado por el oficial de salud pública local, aunque se espera que dicho cierre sea por un mínimo de 14 días. Durante este tiempo, la escuela se someterá a una limpieza profunda y desinfección. Estamos haciendo preparativos para la continuidad de la educación a través de soluciones de aprendizaje a distancia para estudiantes en el advenimiento del cierre de la escuela. Es importante que los padres se preparen para la posibilidad de un cierre de la escuela.

Excursiones y competiciones estudiantiles

Con mucha precaución, hemos tomado la difícil decisión de cancelar todas las excursiones con destinos fuera del condado de Santa Cruz. Las restricciones de viaje a las competencias deportivas y musicales se manejarán caso por caso para minimizar el riesgo para los estudiantes y el personal.

 

Medidas de Prevención

Continuamos nuestros esfuerzos para ayudar a garantizar que los estudiantes y los padres / tutores tengan información precisa sobre cómo pueden ayudar a protegerse a sí mismos y a sus familias. Instamos a los estudiantes y familias que están enfermos a que se queden en casa y se comuniquen con su proveedor de atención médica si es necesario. La actividad de la influenza es alta en este momento y es importante limitar la propagación de la gripe en nuestras escuelas.

 

La División de Salud Pública del Condado de Santa Cruz continúa aconsejando que los siguientes pasos para prevenir la propagación de la gripe también protegen contra la propagación de COVID-19:

 

  • lavarse las manos frecuentemente con agua y jabón, durante al menos 20 segundos;
  • use desinfectante para manos con al menos 60% de alcohol si no hay agua y jabón disponibles;
  • vacunarse contra la gripe para protegerse contra la gripe o síntomas similares a COVID-19;
  • Evitar el contacto cercano con personas que están enfermas;
  • cubra su tos o estornude con un pañuelo desechable, luego tírelo a la basura;
  • evite darse la mano;
  • limpie y desinfecte objetos y superficies que se tocan con frecuencia utilizando productos de limpieza domésticos habituales;
  • evite tocarse la cara con las manos sin lavar;
  • quedarse en casa de la escuela o el trabajo cuando esté enfermo; y
  • llame a su proveedor de atención primaria para obtener instrucciones ANTES de buscar atención en persona para síntomas parecidos a la gripe

 

Esta es una situación emergente donde la información y las circunstancias pueden evolucionar rápidamente. Para obtener las últimas actualizaciones, visite el sitio web de coronavirus novedoso de los Centros para el Control de Enfermedades 2019 en: https://www.cdc.gov/COVID19. La Oficina de Educación del Condado de Santa Cruz continúa actualizando su página web en www.sccoe.link/coronavirus.

Para obtener información local, los residentes pueden visitar www.santacruzhealth.org/coronavirus, llamar al 211 o enviar un mensaje de texto con la palabra “coronavirus” al 211211. Se pueden aplicar tarifas de mensajería. Gracias.

Sinceramente,

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

 

Date: March 4, 2020, 1:30 p.m.

The Santa Cruz County Human Services Agency Public Health Division has declared a Health Emergency in Santa Cruz County. This emergency declaration is intended to boost preparation efforts against further coronavirus cases and will allow the county government to request additional aid from the state if local resources run low. There are currently no confirmed cases in Santa Cruz County.

Updated: March 3, 2020

Re: Coronavirus (COVID-19) Notice to Families


Dear Santa Cruz County families:

All ten Santa Cruz County school districts, in partnership with the Santa Cruz County Office of Education and Santa Cruz County Health Services Agency Public Health Division, are working collectively to address the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. While there remain zero confirmed cases within Santa Cruz County at this time and the risk to our community remains low, incidents of the disease are growing globally and within the United States, including the San Francisco South-Bay Area. 

The Santa Cruz County Office of Education has launched a web page that will be updated regularly to offer updates, resources, and links to other agencies. You can access this page at www.sccoe.link/coronavirus. The Santa Cruz County Public Health Division is also working diligently to provide accurate and timely information on their website at https://www.santacruzhealth.org/Coronavirus.

We will be prepared in the event that an outbreak does occur in Santa Cruz County. Because COVID-19 has the potential for long-term disruption to our community and to our schools, we are taking the following actions to limit the spread of the disease so that impacts to our students and families are temporary and brief:

  • We are urging students and families who are sick to please stay home and contact your health care provider if necessary. Influenza activity is high at this time, and limiting the spread of the flu in our schools is important. 
  • We ask that anyone who has had known contact with a COVID-19 patient, has traveled abroad to an area impacted by COVID-19, or who is exhibiting symptoms of fever, cough and difficulty breathing, to contact a medical professional IMMEDIATELY so that a confirmed diagnosis may be reported to the Santa Cruz County Public Health Division. 
  • Custodians will utilize disinfecting cleaners and gloves to disinfect classrooms and public places. 
  • We are helping to ensure students have accurate information about how they can help protect themselves and their families, including proper hand hygiene, safe coughing, and sneezing techniques. 
  • We are working with our local Health Services Agency regarding preparedness and response protocols for any future COVID-19 cases. 

The COVID-19 outbreak is an emerging, rapidly evolving situation, and preparedness and response information may change quickly. Our response may include temporary school closures to facilitate campus cleanings and to help mitigate the spread of the disease. School closures will be implemented under the direction of the Santa Cruz County Public Health Division, and we urge families to have plans in place for how your family would manage a school closure or how to keep all members of the household free from illness if a caregiver becomes sick.

At this time, we do not plan to cancel future field trips or take other measures to limit social interactions. We will make any necessary adjustments to travel plans as more information about COVID-19 becomes available, and final decisions will be at the discretion of each school district.

The Santa Cruz County Public Health Division also advises that steps to prevent the spread of flu will also guard against the spread of COVID-19. They include:

  • wash hands frequently with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds;
  • get your flu shot to protect against flu or symptoms similar to COVID-19;
  • use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available;
  • avoid close contact with people who are sick;
  • cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash;
  • avoid shaking hands;
  • clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using regular household cleaning supplies;
  • avoid touching your face with unwashed hands;
  • stay home from school or work when you are sick; and
  • call your primary care provider for instructions BEFORE seeking in-person care for flu-like symptoms

Please continue to check this COE page for updates: www.sccoe.link/coronavirus

Thank you. 

 

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

Updated: March 2, 2020, 5 p.m.

At this point in time, the immediate health risk for the general public from novel coronavirus (now named COVID-19) is believed to be low, per Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) representatives at a press conference on February 25, 2020. The Santa Cruz County Office of Education is in contact with Santa Cruz County Health Services Agency Public Health Division and continues to monitor the California Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s information for updates. We are currently working with school districts to review Safety Plans, test lines of communications, and develop protocols for prevention and appropriate responses if any active cases develop in our community. Further information and resources will be posted shortly. In the meantime, please refer to the updates and FAQ’s on the the Santa Cruz County Health Services Agency Public Health Division’s website.

The COVID-19 outbreak is an emerging, rapidly evolving situation, and preparedness and response information may change quickly. The Santa Cruz COE is continuing to work closely with the Santa Cruz County Health Services Agency Public Health Division to remain informed about as more information becomes available.