Quick Take:

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Happy Wednesday evening, everybody. It’s been a newsy one.

We’ve got some late-breaking word on how a number of local schools are swerving to avoid Omicron-induced closures. More on that protocol change below.

Meanwhile, word came this morning that the sister of the slain Aptos High student who was picking her brother up from school that day, but was late to arrive, has filed an official complaint against the Pajaro Valley School District.

We’ll cover that and more. To the headlines …

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

Most Santa Cruz students, like those at Santa Cruz High School (pictured here), have been learning remotely since March.
The overwhelming majority of Santa Cruz High School students — and students at public schools countywide — have been learning remotely since March. Credit: Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz

What we know about that new protocol: 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. More from Hillary Ojeda here.

PREVIOUSLY: Santa Cruz County schools & Omicron: Leaders share early report cards on latest ‘survival mode’ (Lookout)

Sister of Aptos High stabbing victim files claim, critical of preparedness, response

The vigil in Watsonville Sunday featured photos of the 17-year old Aptos High student.
A vigil in Watsonville featured photos of the 17-year old Aptos High student who was stabbed and killed on campus in August 2021. Credit: Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz

School response details: A formal complaint from Alexa Sarabia Aguilar says the Pajaro Valley Unified School District and Aptos High were not prepared for the events that led to the death of her younger brother, and mishandled the response that might’ve saved his life that day in August. Hillary Ojeda has the details here.

PREVIOUSLY: Parents of Aptos High stabbing victim file claim against PVUSD (Lookout)

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Growing signs that Omicron is leveling off in California

A Los Angeles woman takes a free PCR COVID-19 test.
A Los Angeles woman takes a free PCR COVID-19 test. Credit: Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times

The good news: While California continues to see disturbing rises in COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths, there are some early signs the Omicron wave is slowing. More from the LA Times here.

MEANWHILE, SOME BAD: California approaches pandemic record for all hospitalizations (LAT)

County at an impasse: Union workers say they’re set to strike next week; management says deal is fair

A county worker restripes Portola Drive in Pleasure Point.
Credit: Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz

The latest: During a virtual news conference Tuesday evening, leaders of SEIU Local 521 — which represents public health and social workers and public works employees, among others — said Santa Cruz County leaders had forced their hand by refusing to negotiate in good faith. County officials counter that the deal, which includes an 8% raise over three years, is fair. More from Dan Evans here.

ICYMI: City closing temporary unhoused site at Depot Park

The temporary evacuation site at Depot Park was closed Tuesday.
Credit: Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz

The what: The city-run encampment at Santa Cruz’s Depot Park was set to close Tuesday, requiring between 30 and 35 unhoused residents to move. The city said it needs the space for increased COVID-19 testing capacity, with a testing venue also operating on the site. More from Grace Stetson here.

Inside Lookout: Upcoming food newsletter, Unsung Santa Cruz, & welcoming interns

Surfer statue
Credit: Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz

A word from the Doctor: Lookout founder and CEO Ken Doctor shared the latest and greatest from behind the curtain here in Santa Cruz. Hint: A regular dose of Unsungs to begin with. More from Ken here.

More from here & elsewhere

Teen at bail hearing for Los Gatos party mom: ‘I would feel scared if you let her out’ (SF Gate)
Santa Cruz man sentenced to prison for vehicular manslaughter (Sentinel)
After condemnation, RTC confirms consideration of Felton line abandonment (Sentinel)
Biden’s feisty press conference: What we learned (USA Today)
NBC won’t send some announcers to Beijing Olympics due to COVID (USA Today)
Why are airlines squaring off against wireless companies over 5G? (NBC News)

That is all for this Wednesday night. If you like what we’re doing, please support us by becoming a member here.

Mark Conley
Deputy Managing Editor

Follow Mark Conley on: Twitter, Instagram, Facebook. Mark joins Lookout after 14 years at the Mercury News and Bay Area News Group, where he served as Deputy Sports Editor on a staff that covered three...