Health Information — County Superintendents Agreement
March 11, 2020
Dear Santa Clara Unified Community:
This is a challenging and anxious time for all of us as we work to respond responsibly through this new coronavirus (COVID-19). This update follows a meeting today with Dr. Sarah Cody, health officer and director of the Santa Clara County Public Health Department, and all of the superintendents in our county. Superintendents worked to establish a Collective Agreement for all districts in Santa Clara County. Because this situation is new and dynamic, we are continuing to re-evaluate and update our response as information becomes available. When it is determined that new updates regarding the guidelines will impact operations of our district and school sites, you will be notified. If no new updates are provided, that means the current guidelines are still in effect. Dr. Cody is working in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and is asking that we do our best to maintain safety, calm, and a sense of continuity for our students.
There are many specific situations that are still not known, but we will share with you what we do know. If we are notified of a confirmed COVID-19 case in a student or staff member, we will work with Santa Clara County Public Health Department and the Santa Clara County Office of Education to close the school in order to conduct a deep cleaning at the site. All staff and families at the site will be notified of this situation and we will work to mitigate it as much as possible. Some things we are still working on, if a school or schools are determined to be closed, we are seeking ways to continue to provide breakfast and lunch to those who receive meals at school. This Friday’s staff professional development day is focused on developing learning opportunities to allow student learning to continue at home.
Additionally, the public health department is stating that if students and staff are well, they should be in school, if they are sick, they should stay home. If you or your child are ill and you have concerns, you should contact your physician. The health officials are asking that visits to medical facilities be limited. For those who have compromised immune systems you are encouraged to take extra precautions.
We will use the guidelines to manage the many decisions necessary during this time, including determining when to cancel or postpone events and how to respond to various situations. Please also take assurance that we have a comprehensive Incident Command System (ICS) and safety protocols for emergency response.
A Note on Privacy
This week we have received inquiries from community members asking for details about individual citizens. Every student, staff member, community member, and their families are afforded the right to privacy, especially when it comes to private medical information. That includes you. We cannot and will not share information about individuals, students or adults. What we can do is assure you that we are following the very good, expert advice of our county partners as we have outlined above and reinforce that we are committed to communicating with you as soon as there are updates and if there is any action directed at one of our schools by the county health authorities. Please respect the privacy of your fellow community members and refrain from spreading rumors or sharing private medical information with others, which in many situations, violate the HIPAA law.
HIPAA: What is it and Why is it Important? The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), Public Law 104-191, was enacted on August 21, 1996. There are three main components of HIPAA outlining the exercise of best practices for administration, physical security, and technical security to keep patient data safe. All of us, including staff, administration, and parents are in violation if we gossip, send email or text messages, chat on social media, or discuss private medical information regarding an individual’s (student or adult) personal health information to each other.
Science Camp / Outdoor Science Schools
All of our outdoor science school trips will continue as planned. We have received confirmation from each location that they have increased their health care protocols to help reduce the spread of communicable diseases such as COVID-19. All students will have their temperatures taken by district staff before boarding the school bus. Any student with a temperature above 100F and exhibiting respiratory infection symptoms will be sent home immediately.
I want to thank you for your understanding that this is new for all of us. The strength of a community is demonstrated when they come together to support one another during challenging times. We will continue to work with school site administrators to update and refine our guidelines as needed. We are committed to supporting you and staying in regular communication as new updates arise.
Stella M. Kemp, Ed.D.