Update on Coronavirus (COVID-19) (March 12)

Health officials and schools continue to coordinate efforts and monitor the situation

This is the latest novel coronavirus (COVID-19) update from the San Joaquin County Office of Education:

There has been growing concern in the community about the spread of the novel coronavirus, also known as COVID-19. We too are concerned about the health and well-being of our families and students, which is why the San Joaquin County Office of Education (SJCOE) is working closely with San Joaquin County Public Health Services (SJCPHS) and following California Department of Public Health (CDPH) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance for schools.

 In the latest update, the CDPH has issued new guidelines recommending the postponement or cancellation of gatherings of 250 or more people. A gathering is defined by any event or convening that brings together people in a single room or single space at the same time, such as an auditorium, stadium, arena, large conference room, meeting hall, cafeteria, or any other indoor or outdoor space. The latest guidelines do not apply to activities such as regular school classes, work, or other essential services.

 This guidance will remain in place at least through the month of March. As with all guidance that relates to COVID-19 response, authorities will revisit this guidance on a regular basis to evaluate the continued public health need for it and to evaluate if any elements need to be changed. Updated guidance will appear here: https://www.cdph.ca.gov/programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/Guidance.aspx

At this time, the San Joaquin County Public Health Officer and the CDPH have NOT recommended school closures in San Joaquin County.

SJCOE schools and offices remain open. This includes all our programs, including Teachers College of San Joaquin, Outdoor Education, Special Education, Venture Academy Family of Schools, and County Operated Schools and Programs.

There are no known confirmed COVID-19 cases in SJCOE programs or schools. On Thursday, March 12, SJCPHS announced that two additional county residents had tested positive for COVID-19. The total in San Joaquin County is now three. The agency also declared a local public health emergency. According to SJCPHS, "The proclamation should not be considered a reason for heightened concern; it is intended to help facilitate additional resources to address the increasing demands of containing the virus." More information is at http://www.sjcphs.org/.

In accordance with the new guidelines, the SJCOE has cancelled the countywide Elementary Science Olympiad scheduled for this Saturday, March 14. The SJCOE organizes or hosts numerous events of different sizes and in different venues. In accordance with the CDPH guidelines and consultation with SJCPHS, we will be determining which events to continue providing and/or hosting on a case-by-case basis.

SJCPHS and the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) remind us that a healthy school environment involves limiting exposure to germs from those who are ill. Adults and children should stay home if they are ill with symptoms of fever, cough, runny nose, vomiting, diarrhea, difficulty breathing, and/or shortness of breath.  Additionally, the most important way to prevent the spread of viruses at school AND at home is for all of us to be diligent with our own hygiene practices:

  • People who are sick should stay home from work or school until they are fever-free for 24 hours without fever reducing medication.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use a skin-friendly disinfectant wipe or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash, and wash your hands.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Individuals with chronic health issues and/or individuals experiencing severe symptoms should be evaluated by a medical professional.
  • Think about how to care for loved ones at home if they or you get sick, including how to prevent other family members from becoming infected.
  • Social distancing. In other words, minimize close contact. That means please refrain from hand shaking, hugging and even giving high-fives. 

Our top priority is the health and safety of our students and staff, and we take this responsibility seriously. We will continue to work closely with health officials to monitor the situation and provide updates as necessary.

The SJCOE will provide updates when appropriate and will post updates and trusted resources at www.sjcoe.org/healthsafety

Posted: 3/12/2020