Return to Headlines

Health Information - Coronavirus Update

March 4, 2020

En Español

Dear Santa Clara Unified Families and Community,

The new Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) continues to be on the minds of our families, staff, and community. I want to assure you that we will continue to provide regular updates on our ongoing coordination and collaboration with our county education and health partners. 

We have launched a Cold and Flu Season webpage that is updated regularly to offer information, resources, and links to other agencies. Resources include frequently asked questions (FAQs).

Following the update we sent on February 28, we received questions about what the school system is doing to prepare for the possibility of confirmed cases in our district. We want to provide some additional information. First, we are making every effort to maintain a proactive, sensitive, and responsive relationship with our community. We will continue to provide regular updates to you through our existing mass communication channels.  

Due to the volume of emails, it is not realistic to expect personal responses at this time. Themes of questions or thoughts will appear in the FAQs section of our webpage. If you have specific information regarding the health of a child or adult, please contact your site immediately. Our staff is dedicating their time to planning and working with agencies proactively.

In this matter, we follow direction from the Santa Clara County Public Health Department. Santa Clara Unified School District continues to monitor updates through our partners at the Santa Clara County Office of Education and the Santa Clara County Public Health Department. 

COVID-19 is in the family of viruses that cause the common cold, so symptoms and prevention measures are similar. A person’s risk for this virus is not dependent on race, ethnicity, or culture. Santa Clara County Public Health Department recommendations remain the same to limit the spread of all infectious diseases, including ordinary flu viruses and COVID-19:

  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Go home immediately if you have a fever (temperature above 100.0 F) and stay there for at least 24 hours after you no longer have a fever without the use of fever-reducing medicine.
  • Health officials do not recommend the use of face masks for general prevention and say that everyday preventative action listed here provide better protection from infectious diseases.
  • Exercise frequent and proper hand hygiene. Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  • Supervise children’s use of hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your face, particularly your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Cough or sneeze into a tissue, sleeve, or arm. Do not use your hands. Throw away used tissue and wash your hands.
  • Perform routine surface cleaning, particularly for high-touch surfaces.
  • Consult your health care provider if you or your child has special health conditions that put you at increased risk.

Students and adults need to stay home from school or work when they have:

  • Any contagious disease. 
  • Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea in the past 24 hours.
  • Fever (temperature above 100.0 F) in the past 24 hours without fever-reducing medication.
  • Frequent coughing or very runny nose.
  • Persistent sore throat, earache, or severe headache.

Steps that Santa Clara Unified and our schools are taking:

  • Students or staff with symptoms listed above will be sent home. Students who are sent home must be picked up by their parent/guardian as soon as possible. After the first hour, schools may begin calling the emergency contacts on record for the student to arrange student pick up. 
  • Teachers will work with absent students’ families to arrange for make-up work.
  • We are reinforcing hand hygiene education and access across the district.
  • We are increasing the daily cleaning of high touch areas such as student desks, doorknobs, faucets, light switches, and school busses.
  • District leadership, in collaboration with our county education and health officials, are setting plans in place to ensure continuity of education and operations if and when schools may be required to close. The determination to close a school is a very serious decision that will be made in collaboration between our district and our county partners. 
  • There are no recommendations to close our schools or limit events and field trips at this time.
  • We are maintaining a Cold and Flu Season webpage with updates and resources.

Student absences:

We understand community concern about student health and safety. Some families have asked about keeping their own child home based on the fear of contracting COVID-19 at school. This is certainly an option any family may consider. Per Education Code and Board Policy, at this time, we are unable to mark an absence excused for this reason. 

  • Our normal protocol remains in place. If a student is out for an extended period of time, a doctor’s note may be required.
  • We have asked principals to work with teachers to provide makeup work for students.

Please continue to check our Cold and Flu Season webpage for updates.


Stella M. Kemp, Ed.D.

Stella M. Kemp, Ed.D.