On March 11, over 45 District Superintendents, educators, health care professionals, and staff met at the Humboldt County Office of Education (HCOE) Sequoia Conference Center with Public Health Director, Michele Stephens, and Public Health Officer, Dr. Teresa Frankovich, to discuss Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) as related to the education of our children and the health and safety of our community.
Topics covered ranged from school preparedness, guidance on transmission and severity of COVID-19 in Humboldt County and in our region, measures underway to prevent the spread of COVID-19, scenario planning and procedures to follow given various levels of potential confirmed cases of COVID-19, and discussing tools and strategies used for continuous learning and support of students if there were school closures.
A critical outcome for this convening was to develop and create processes for consistent and informed decision-making with the safety of students remaining top priority. Delivery of service for students, families, employees, and community was also discussed.
School activities and events is an area of particular focus, with guidance from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) evolving and changing on a regular basis. Currently, some school-related events and activities have been cancelled due to state guidelines and with consideration to the size, number of anticipated attendees, and physical location. HCOE and related districts are notifying stakeholders and the community as these decisions are made.
At this point in time, there is no evidence of community transmission of COVID-19 in Humboldt County. There has been no need for closure or quarantine of schools in Humboldt County, nonetheless, we are preparing as if this may take place. A planning committee was formed to share best practices, make recommendations, and to research topics to help inform school district decisions.
There are multiple sources of public information available to schools, community, parents, and educators. HCOE will provide regular and timely updates and has created informational categories on our COVID-19 webpage:
- School District Updates and Information
- CDPH/Public Health/Official Notices and Bulletins
- Parent and Student Resource and Guidance
- Digital Learning and Related Teaching Strategies
Our collective and essential focus is on student health and safety, consistent response to the impact of COVID-19, delivery of educational services, and maintaining engaging learning experiences for all students. Our schools serve as a critical source of support and service for all students and families. We are collectively working to maintain that consistency and support during this time.