Quick Take:

As the cost of college textbooks continue to rise, educators and students alike are looking to more contemporary modes...

Hello, everyone — it’s Thursday, Jan. 20, and Santa Cruz County has a sunny day ahead, with highs nearing 70. Appreciate it!

Lookout readers had questions as local service providers began 2022 by rolling out new composting policies, and we kick off this morning with some answers courtesy of Lily Belli.

We also have a look at new COVID-19 protocols being phased in at many area schools, where the Omicron surge means most students and staff are assumed to have come into contact with a COVID-positive individual.

Also on our radar:

Let’s get to those headlines:

Composting questions answered

A new can for food waste, complying with the new state law.
Credit: Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz

Lookout reached out to leaders at the city of Santa Cruz, Watsonville and GreenWaste Recovery, which services the rest of Santa Cruz County, with logistical questions about the local rollout. Here’s what they told Lily Belli.

PREVIOUSLY: Statewide composting mandate: What to know as rollout begins in Santa Cruz County (Lookout)

Next step in keeping Santa Cruz schools going: ‘Substantial Exposure’

Backpacks hang outside a classroom at Main Street Elementary in Soquel.
Credit: Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz

As COVID-19 continues to challenge school districts’ responses to unprecedented rates of transmission in their communities, they continue to adjust protocol in order to be able to keep schools open. Lookout’s Hillary Ojeda breaks down what we know about the latest steps.

MORE ON SCHOOLS AND THE PANDEMIC: ‘Doing our best’: How some Santa Cruz County parents are navigating a return to school amid Omicron surge (Lookout)

Santa Cruz County vaccine update

Celebrations of COVID-19 vaccinations at Aegis of Aptos
Credit: Via Aegis Living

We examine local vaccination rates, where to find a COVID shot or test, plus wait, cost and turnaround times. Find Lookout’s weekly roundup here.

OMICRON SURGE: California approaches pandemic record for all hospitalizations (Los Angeles Times)

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Sister of Aptos High stabbing victim files separate claim against PVUSD

Flowers on a table at the Peace and Unity vigil at Romo Park on Main Street in the Watsonville on Sunday, Sept. 5.

The complaint from Alexa Sarabia Aguilar says Pajaro Valley Unified School District and Aptos High School were not prepared for the events that led to the death of her younger brother. Lookout’s Hillary Ojeda has the details here.

APTOS HIGH STABBING ATTACK: All of Lookout’s coverage in one place

Families complain as states require COVID testing for nursing home visits

An older couple holding hands
Credit: Via Pixabay

Relatives say it is important they be allowed to go into nursing homes because staff shortages are affecting care. Read more here from our partners at Kaiser Health News.

MORE ON TESTING: Five things to know about ordering free COVID tests (Los Angeles Times)

Around the county …

Proposed health care district gets financial boost, lawmakers’ help (The Pajaronian)
Betty White Day raises big bucks for Central Coast animal shelters (KSBW-TV)
Santa Cruz company gets on FDA fast track for pathogen sequencing method approval (Santa Cruz Sentinel)

And we’re off and running for Thursday — but stay tuned for more later today, including recommendations for things to do this weekend and beyond with Best Bets from Wallace Baine and Team BOLO. You can get those Best Bets via email and text by visiting our Lookout Newsletter & Text Center, and keep tabs throughout the day by bookmarking our website and following us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

And if you’re not already a member, or know someone who digs local journalism, consider a Lookout membership. Our content isn’t possible without community support.

Now go get your Thursday on!

Will McCahill
Lookout Santa Cruz

A veteran jack-of-all-trades journalist who is Lookout’s copy editor, writes and compiles Morning Lookout newsletter and produces Lookout’s other editorial newsletters and helps run Lookout’s social...