Transcript: 1.21 News Video

Hi I’m Sam Rolens, chief of communications for Santa Cruz City Schools with your weekly news.

And this week, you probably know the news—we have a new COVID protocol to boost protection at school in response to any surge in positive cases. You got that email.

But there was a lot of info in that email, and if you’re like me, that can sometimes just wash over you. So this week, we’re going to break down the “substantial exposure” protocol and ask if we’ve ever heard a scarier name for “taking extra care.

I hope you’re hanging in there. My mind is at the point of putting the milk away in the oven and losing my glasses while I’m wearing them. It’s all too much, all over again. But we’re going to be taking extra care at school of our safety, and I hope you’re taking extra care of your sanity.

Okay. This new protocol, developed in cooperation with county health, in response to new state guidance, only goes active when a school has a high enough number of exposures, and it just means we act as though everyone has been exposed.

By now, most families know what follows - if your unvaccinated student is exposed at School, they are put into what public health calls a “modified quarantine.” They can stay in class, as long as they test twice a week, they have to take at least 7 days off extracurricular activities.

That’s the headline. That is most of what’s “new.” Every week, your school will work with the district to get a picture of exposure on campus and decide if the substantial exposure protocol is needed to keep students safe.

Now, as you all know, if a student is vaccinated, they do not need to go into under modified quarantine. They will by and large not be affected by the substantial exposure protocol BUT at these times of substantial exposure we will ANK AND ENCOURAGE everyone to test twice a week. Even vaccinated, because the more we know about COVID’s footprint in our community and in our schools the safer everyone will be.

If you have had and recovered from COVID in the last 90 days, you have the same status as a vaccinated student. And we ask you NOT to PCR test because you can test positive for those 90 days. Take an antigen test in that case.

This means that if your student has not registered with Inspire, our on-campus testing lab, they will not be able to attend in-person class during the substantial exposure protocol. Please register your student, if you haven’t already. Testing is easy, it’s quick, and it keeps our campuses safe. And even my seven year old daughter says, and I quote, “it’s easy.” Register at link #1.

We are in the process of securing masks for all of our students. Smaller masks for smaller kids are more challenging for us to get, but still any time your student comes to school without a paper mask, they can still get them from the office. It’s just that soon, we expect to be handing out packs of masks at your school office. More info on that will come when we’re fully stocked.

We have learned from the last two years that classroom instruction is the best place for students to learn. And we have now seen a massive volume of data that shows that here and across the country, in-class safety measures work to keep COVID from spreading.

While our community deals with a rise in cases, we’re providing a rise in our countermeasures.

Now, for anyone who needs or wants to home quarantine when the substantial exposure protocol is in effect, every student has the option for short term independent study. But each student can only use 15 days of this short term independent study. State rules. And if you have questions on how to use them, when to use them and how they work, I invite you to join us next Monday at 6pm for our COVID Q&A Webinar on Zoom where we will be going more in depth into all of this.

On this page you will find links to register for testing, links to our drive through testing locations and hours, use them if you are sick or exposed, you’ll find links to schedule vaccinations for you and your student—they are proven safe by 4.7 billion people, they have shown significant protection against hospitalization and severe symptoms—you will find links to see what to do if you or your student are sick, positive or exposed, you’ll find a link to our COVID ZOOM Q&A Webinar next Monday, and you will find my email.

Please reach out with your questions, concerns or anything else you think we should hear. Thank you for all you do for your student and to keep your community safe. Everyone has experienced and continues to experience this pandemic differently. So thank you also for being patient with each other. When you’re able.

Take care, and I’ll see you next week.

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