COVID 2022

COVID PM: Secondary school re-openings, a Sutter update and prep sports confusion

Happy Thursday evening! Let’s dive into an extremely busy day of news on the recovery front:

➤ County health officials ran down an assorted list of topics, from their thoughts on the Sutter vaccine situation to the expected changes on the re-opening front to the MyTurn hiccup to the emergence and efficacy of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

➤ Once-fuzzy school re-opening plans continued to get filled in for us — particularly in the middle and high school rungs.

➤ High school sports are happening, but how they’re happening and who can come and watch them is still sorting itself out.

Before we dive into the headlines, if you don’t yet know about our cool book deal, you should. Our very own Kevin Painchaud and Wallace Baine worked alongside the Santa Cruz Sentinel’s Shmuel Thaler to produce a unique visual look at one of the strangest years of our lives. The product, ‘2020 Hindsight,’ is beautiful — and free to you if you become a Lookout member. The books even will be signed by the authors. Click here and use HINDSIGHT2020 as the promo code.

Here we go ...

How far can contagious optimism take us?

Public health officials give update on COVID-19 pandemic and vaccine distribution in press conference on March 4, 2021.
(Santa Cruz County )

COUNTY UPDATE: On the one-year anniversary of when Santa Cruz County declared a public health emergency, county health officer Dr. Gail Newel described herself as “contagiously optimistic” about the COVID-19 pandemic ebbing despite a new round of vaccine supply shortages and constantly shifting state guidelines. Here is Mallory Pickett’s summation of the varied news.

‘We’re all kind of singing the same tune’

A sign at Mission Hill Middle School advises prospective visitors to stay off campus unless on official school business.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

COVID K-12: Five of six districts with secondary schools are are gearing up to begin hybrid in-person and remote instruction in March and April — so long as the county moves to red tier of California’s reopening framework as expected. Nick Ibarra breaks down those details here.

‘It’s complicated’: Prep sports questions remain

St. Francis football players shake the rust off on their campus in Watsonville earlier this week.
(Kevin Painchaud/Lookout Santa Cruz)

COVID K-12: Much is still to be determined on whether high school football will stay on its current course of COVID testing and whether a more relaxed version of guidelines will come down from the state on all sports. County health officials say they are still investigating what that might look like. I try to bring as much clarity to this muddy subject as possible here.

Presented by Santa Cruz County Bank

The Volunteer Center of Santa Cruz County re-envisioned its programs and initiatives to meet the needs and challenges of...

More from here & elsewhere

California is dramatically changing who gets the COVID-19 vaccine. What we know (LA Times)
Sutter reveals new details about tens of thousands of second-dose vaccine appointment cancelations (LA Times)
California changes reopening criteria again and allots 40% of vaccine to poorer areas (CalMatters)
‘It’s too soon for it’: Small business owners react to Texas dropping mask mandate (CNN)
California urges double masking to prevent COVID spread as Texas relaxes mask rules (LA Times)
What can you do once you’re vaccinated? Actually a lot (SF Gate)
Activists shut down Golden Gate Fields vaccine site; hundreds of appointments canceled (SF Gate)
How effective is the Johnson & Johnson vaccine? Here’s what to know (NBC News)

One year later, your look back

Today marked one year since the county declared a public emergency. And we’re fast approaching the day it became really real — when Santa Cruz County experienced its first shelter-in-place lockdown. That was a day when our lives as we knew them changed in ways we might have a hard time even grasping as we look back on it now.

It seems like five years ago; maybe 10. We were just learning what passed as an acceptable face covering or hand sanitizer. The terms Fauci, social distancing, PPP and PPE were all still foreign. Outdoor dining at the level we now know it hadn’t even been thought about. Think back — it’s pretty crazy. And hazy. But I want to hear about what you think of when you look back and ponder. I’ll run my favorite of those I receive in this space (and maybe even send along a Lookout t-shirt to that person). Hit reply or send to me at

AND FINALLY: We’ve been hearing from many upset Sutter patients about their struggles with communication. We’re interested in hearing the latest from you Dignity and Kaiser patients as well. How is it going? Hit reply and let me know.

See you all tomorrow!

Mark Conley
Deputy Managing Editor