Updates from County Office Regarding Vaccinations
COVID vaccines for children 5-11 years of age with Dr. Brian Prystowsky | Oct. 12
Dr. Brian Prystowsky, Pediatrician at Sutter Health, talks about the pediatric vaccine against COVID-19 for children 5-11. He explains how the pediatric vaccine works, its dosage and side effects.
Introducción a la vacuna contra COVID 19 para niños de 5 a 11 años con la Dra Lucía Agudelo
La Dra. Lucía Agudelo, Residente en Medicina Familiar, con Práctica Médica en Sutter Health Santa Rosa y Santa Rosa Community Health, nos habla sobre la vacuna pediátrica contra COVID-19 para niños de 5 a 11 años. La Dra. Agudelo nos explica cómo funciona la vacuna pediátrica, su dosis y efectos secundarios.
Here is the latest information on where to go to get vaccinated:
DATE TIME DISTRICT SCHOOL / LOCATION REGISTRATION LINK FLIER(S) 09/29/2021 3:30 PM - 5:30 PM Gravenstein Union Hillcrest Middle School
725 Bloomfield Road, Sebastopol, CA 95472
None 09/29/2021 2:30 PM - 4:30 PM Petaluma Joint Union High Casa Grande High School
333 Casa Grande Road, Petaluma, CA 94954
Dear School Leaders and Community Partners,
I am writing to share information about the latest round of vaccine clinics being hosted at local school sites.
Please see the attached fliers or access them online at scoe.org/vaccines.
These clinics are available to anyone in the community age 12 and older. Children under 18 need parental consent. Please share this information widely!
As a note, we may be adding additional clinics in the coming days, faster than the fliers can be updated. The most current information will always be available online at scoe.org/vaccines.
August Vaccine Clinics
August Vaccine Clinics - Spanish
Thanks to your help, the county has made amazing progress in its goal of vaccinating age-eligible youth. To date, 28% of 12-15 year olds have already been vaccinated, after just a few weeks of eligibility. Countywide, 70% of all residents age 12+ have been vaccinated. This is encouraging news, but in order to ensure the smoothest, safest school reopening possible in the fall, it will be beneficial for many more youth to be vaccinated (70% of 12-18 year olds). Throughout the next few months, the county will continue to partner with local organizations and agencies to provide free opportunities for students and community members to be vaccinated.
SCOE continues to produce messaging options that districts are encouraged to use.
The latest vaccine messaging is a student testimonial video for getting vaccinated (A Spanish language version is under development and will be shared next week.) It was filmed at one of the vaccine clinics held at Elsie Allen High School. We encourage you to share this with your families of age-eligible students and post on your district and/or school website(s). Please find additional resources below to help spread the word about the benefits of vaccination.
5/26 Webinar for Families on Youth Vaccines (Co-hosted by SCOE & County Health)
Benefits of Getting Vaccinated Flier - Attached in English and Spanish
Latest vaccine clinic information: scoe.org/vaccines
Recently, we have received questions about in-person graduation ceremony criteria. As a reminder, schools should adhere to the CDPH graduation guidelines and the related Outdoor Seated Live Events guidance. In addition, please note these answers to some common questions we’ve been receiving:
Out-of-state attendees: Family members from out of state may attend graduation ceremonies, but only if they are fully vaccinated.
Attendees are required to be seated in household groups. Each group/pod must be spaced at least six feet apart.
While we are in the orange tier, attendance is limited to 33% venue capacity. IF all guests show a negative test result within 72 hours prior to the event OR proof of full vaccination, the capacity limit increases to 67%.
1. Updated Masking Guidance
Last week the CDC issued new masking guidance advising that fully vaccinated individuals do not need to wear masks in most settings. However, at this time, the CA Department of Public Health has not modified their guidelines and the current masking guidelines remain in place for public spaces and workplaces. Additionally, the CDC has clarified that their guidelines do not apply to school settings. No masking guidance changes are anticipated for the remainder of the school year and into summer school. We will advise masking guidelines for the fall when it is available.
2. Student & Community Vaccine Webinar with Public Health
Parents and guardians interested to know more about the safety of the COVID-19 vaccine for their child, how to get their child vaccinated, and more are invited to attend a webinar hosted by the County of Sonoma and Sonoma County Office of Education on Wednesday, May 26 at 6 p.m. The webinar will include a brief presentation, followed by a Q&A, by a panel of local pediatricians. Families will have a chance to ask questions and learn more about the health, safety, and science of the COVID-19 vaccine. Please share this information with your families in your printed bulletins and in electronic communications.
Date: Wednesday, May 26
Time: 6 p.m. Pacific Time
How to Join: Visit facebook.com/countyofsonoma at 7:00pm. If streaming has not yet begun, please wait and streaming will begin shortly.
3. Vaccine Clinics Update
Athletic Directors, coaches, and student athletes are reminded that maintaining safety protocols are critical for individual and collective health and will help us all get to a point where these protocols will no longer be necessary. Additionally, vaccinating students and the greater community will help make sure sports can continue and reduce the need to quarantine. We anticipate continued modified restrictions will continue in the fall so promoting vaccinations is beneficial to participation. To support the community vaccination efforts, visit the list of clinics at scoe.org/vacines.
4. Asking Staff and Students About Their Vaccination Status
We have been asked whether parents of students and staff may be asked their COVID-19 vaccination status in regards to a COVID-19 exposure in making quarantine decisions. School & College Legal Services (SCLS) has provided us with the following information, In sum, staff and students may be asked about their vaccination status only as it pertains to possible quarantine decisions, but they should be careful not to ask any follow-up questions that may violate their privacy rights, and records should be kept confidential.
In regards to employees, the EEOC has provided guidance that asking an employee if they have been vaccinated (and requesting proof of receipt of vaccination) by itself is legally permissible as asking for this information is not considered a medical examination. The employer should be very careful in asking any additional questions if the employee is not vaccinated (such as why is the employee not vaccinated) as many of these sorts of follow-up questions could result in a disability-related inquiry. For more information on disability-related or religious inquiries, see item K.3 in the EEOC guidance.
There are no limitations on the specific title of the employer agent asking an employee if they have been vaccinated and requesting proof of vaccination. A COVID coordinator would be an appropriate first choice but in the absence of the COVID Coordinator, other agents of the employer could gather this information. We do advise that any information be kept confidential and for an employer not to widely distribute lists detailing which employees are and are not vaccinated so as to avoid issues associated with confronting and/or asking questions of the non-vaccinated employees that could be construed as a disability-related inquiry.
Parents of Students
In regards to students, SCLS is not aware of any legal prohibition precluding a school from asking parents of students if their child has received the COVID-19 vaccine and requesting proof of the vaccination. Since COVID-19 immunization is not currently a required immunization for student enrollment as per Health and Safety Code section 120335, it is legally uncertain as to the authority of a school to require, as a condition of enrollment and attendance, that a student receive a COVID-19 vaccine. We advise that any school wanting to develop such a requirement contact their legal counsel to discuss this issue.
If parents refuse to answer and/or provide proof of their child being vaccinated, then SCLS advises that the student should be treated as not being vaccinated for purposes of responding to an exposure of COVID-19.
Information maintained by a school personally identifiable to a student (such as a record that a student has received a COVID-19 vaccination) will be a student record under federal (FERPA) and state (see Education Code sections 49060 et seq.) law.
As far as the title of the school individual that can ask parents about their students’ COVID-19 vaccine status, the COVID Coordinator is a good choice for the lead contact. However, in accordance with FEPRA and California law on student record access issues (see Education Code section 49076(a)(1)(A)), any agent of the school who has a “legitimate educational interest” may obtain this information and share this information with other agents of the school that have a legitimate educational interest. A school sport team coach, for instance, could ask student athletes if they have been vaccinated to help determine the appropriate response following a COVID-19 exposure.
1. Student & Community Vaccination Clinics (Update)
The Pfizer vaccine is now approved for anyone 12 years of age and older. Starting this Sunday, SCOE vaccine clinics hosted by Safeway will offer the vaccine to anyone age 12+. To promote vaccination efforts County Health officials, in partnership with SCOE, will host a webinar for parents and the community within the next two weeks to provide parent information, address concerns, and answer questions. More information on the date and time of the webinar will be shared when confirmed. In the meantime, please go to scoe.org/vaccines for all the current information on school clinics and how to sign up (or walk-in without an appointment). SoCoEmergency.org also has information posted on all community clinics throughout the county.
2. Youth Sports Update
Unfortunately, Sonoma County has yet to meet the health criteria to advance to the Yellow Tier. While we are very close, we cannot meet the criteria based on the continued rate of new cases. Only a few new cases can prevent us from moving to the Yellow Tier. One possible source of infections and outbreaks is due to relaxed masking and social distancing among athletic teams. The county has seen outbreaks as a result. Athletic Directors, coaches, and student athletes are reminded that maintaining safety protocols are critical for individual and collective health and will help us all get to a point where these protocols will no longer be necessary. Additionally, vaccinating students and the greater community will help make sure sports can continue and reduce the need to quarantine. We anticipate continued modified restrictions will continue in the fall so promoting vaccinations is beneficial to participation.
Public Health officials, in partnership with SCOE, will host a webinar on Tuesday, May 18, from 3:00pm to 3:30pm, to share information regarding best practices and current youth sports guidelines to prevent outbreaks. Public Health officials will review the current status of team sports and epidemiology as well as vaccination options and testing. There will also be a Q&A portion. Any school leader involved in athletics (coaches, athletic directors, principals, referees, etc…) are welcome to attend. Click here to register for the webinar.
3. Parent Volunteer Status
We have received questions about whether parents will be allowed to volunteer when we reach the yellow tier. The state guidance remains the same, limiting on-campus volunteers to those who are “essential” only. It is up to the school to decide what constitutes an essential volunteer. If a program, such as a field trip, graduation, or project cannot take place without the help of volunteer chaperones, they might be considered essential. Schools should pre-register these volunteers. The volunteers should be fully vaccinated or have proof of a negative test within 72 hours prior to the event and follow all applicable safety guidelines.
4. New CDC Masking Guidance
The CDC on Thursday issued new masking guidance advising that fully vaccinated individuals do not need to wear masks in most settings. As a reminder, the CDC guidance is advisory and schools are still bound by the CA Department of Public Health (CDPH) guidance and CalOSHA guidance as it applies to employees. We will work with County Health officials to provide any updates as they pertain to schools in the weeks ahead. In the meantime, the current masking guidelines remain in place.
1. Student & Community Vaccination Clinics
The Sonoma County Department of Public Health is urging students 16 years of age and older, as well as their families, to get vaccinated at a local vaccination clinic. Information on where and when these clinics are being held and how to sign up is available here.
Of the many benefits for vaccinating students, one important benefit is that vaccinated individuals do not need to quarantine if exposed to a COVID-positive person. Also, students will be able to hang out with friends who are vaccinated without the need to mask or socially distance.
Looking ahead, we anticipate the vaccine will also be available to anyone 12 years of age and older within the next couple of weeks. Once this is confirmed, County Health officials, in partnership with SCOE, will host a webinar for parents and the community to provide information, address concerns, and answer questions. More information on the date and time of the webinar will be shared when confirmed.
Sonoma County Public Health officials are pleased to share that we have made excellent progress toward vaccinating a large portion of the adult population. More than 50% of adults in Sonoma County have been fully vaccinated. Another 18% of adults have completed one dose. The county goal is 70% of Sonoma County’s adult population to be fully vaccinated by May 15. We continue to promote vaccines for public health and safety.
2. Change in Quarantine Requirements for Vaccinated Staff
Cal/OSHA has partially updated its COVID-19 guidance for schools in relation to quarantine requirements for staff who have been exposed to COVID-19 but are fully vaccinated. Now, in accordance with CDC and CDPH guidelines for fully-vaccinated persons, Cal/OSHA states: "Refrain from quarantine and testing following a known exposure if asymptomatic. Following a known exposure at work, fully vaccinated workers do not need to quarantine if asymptomatic."
CDPH has also updated its Guidance for Fully Vaccinated People to clarify that exposed, asymptomatic, fully vaccinated workers do NOT need to be excluded from the workplace. Because of Executive Order N-84-20, CDPH guidance supersedes the Cal/OSHA standards on this specific point.
The state also expects that Cal/OSHA will issue draft language for their new regulations as early as this Friday. The goal is to try to get new regulations into effect by the June 15th Blueprint deadline.
3. Travel Guidance
We have received questions regarding travel and quarantine post-travel. Per the CDC and CDPH, fully vaccinated persons do not need to test or quarantine after domestic travel. They are advised to self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms and isolate and get tested if they develop symptoms. Individuals do NOT need to get tested or self-quarantine if they are fully vaccinated or have recovered from COVID-19 in the past 3 months.
For unvaccinated individuals, CDC and CDPH recommend delaying travel until a person is fully vaccinated. CDPH guidelines for non-essential travel by (not fully) unvaccinated persons states the following for unvaccinated individuals:
Except in connection with essential travel, Californians should avoid non-essential travel outside of California, to other states or countries unless they are fully vaccinated.This reduces the risk that new sources of infection and new virus strains could be introduced to California.
Non-essential travelers from other states or countries, are strongly discouraged from entering California, and should adhere to the quarantine procedures set forth below.
Non-essential travelers who are not fully vaccinated should get tested with a viral test 1-3 days before travel, and get tested 3-5 days upon arrival to their destination. They should stay home and self-quarantine for a full 7 days after travel, even if their test is negative.
Non-essential travelers who are not fully vaccinated and don't get tested should stay home and self-quarantine for 10 days after travel."
For international travel, please see this CDC guidance.
SCOE and County Health officials are working on a plan for any student 16-17 years old to get vaccinated if they choose. Currently, only the Pfizer vaccine is permitted for anyone under 18. Vaccinations for 16-17 year olds will provide flexibility for vaccinated students to be more socially active and participate in sports and other school events. Students who would like to get vaccinated will need written consent from a parent/guardian and will need to be accompanied to the clinic by a parent/guardian. More information on student vaccination clinics will be shared when details are confirmed.
It is expected that a vaccine could be cleared for use with children age 12 and older as soon as early May. SCOE is working with County Health to prepare for this. We hope to partner with school districts to offer weekend vaccine clinics for students once the vaccine is made available. We will keep you updated as this develops.
As we continue to look forward to the fall, state education and health experts predict that schools should be able to resume full in-person learning. They predict that the three pillars of safety practices in the fall will be: masking, vaccinations, and testing. Should there be an unexpected surge or rise of a new variant, social distancing could be a requirement. For the remainder of this year, volunteers on campus, cooperative table seating, and field trips are all still restricted, and they are to be re-evaluated for the fall.
We have received questions regarding whether schools can require student vaccination or travel quarantine timelines beyond what is required by the county or state. School & College Legal Services has advised that public schools have very little leeway to require more restrictive health mandates than the state or county as it impacts students’ ability to access in-person learning. This is because students have a constitutional right to public education. Schools can encourage but not require things like vaccination when it is not mandated by a higher authority. If schools have more specific questions, they should talk to their legal counsel.