COVID 2021

COVID PM: As death toll hits 200, schools express optimism for the fall

Over the hump we go with yet another busy COVID-19 and vaccination news day...

DEATH TOLL HITS 200: In a grim reminder that we’re not out of the woods yet, Santa Cruz County reached that number Wednesday.
FALL PROGNOSIS GOOD: All 10 public school districts say they are optimistic for a full return to school later this year.
LATEST LOOKOUT EVENT: Ask top school officials next Tuesday about the reopenings ahead, what summer will look like and that hope for a fall return. More on that below.

To the headlines...

Santa Cruz County reaches 200 deaths

Numbers

COVID TODAY: California has administered more than 15 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine. That’s a lot. But in the nation’s most populous state, that’s still a fraction of the demand. And that means many who want to be vaccinated are still being turned away. Meanwhile, as local COVID-19 metrics continued to improve, Santa Cruz County was handed a grim reminder of the pandemic: The number of deaths countywide crossed 200 on today. Mallory Pickett sums up the day in data here.

‘Confident’ in full return this fall

Students in masks complete schoolwork with computers and books.

COVID K-12: All 10 public school districts in Santa Cruz County expect to be able to fully reopen classrooms in the fall so long as the spread of COVID-19 stays low, officials announced today. And some districts are considering increasing students’ in-person time this spring. Nick Ibarra with all the other key details here.

But, according to our content partner, EdSource: California lags behind most states in offering fully in-person instruction, new data show
Also from EdSource: What are California teachers seeing as the early grades go back to school?

More partner content

Long line of cars for COVID-19 testing at Dodger Stadium

COVID-19 turned a tiny start-up into a testing giant. But can its results be trusted? Curative’s mouth swabs should be administered only under strict protocols, federal regulators caution. Fred Turner, Curative’s 25-year-old founder, thinks otherwise. More on Turner and Curative from the LA Times here.

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Newsom doubles down on sheltering farmworkers despite few takers: California is upgrading its underutilized Housing for the Harvest program to provide quarantine hotel rooms for farm workers, in the hopes that a wage replacement and an option to shelter at home will boost participation. But is it too late? CalMatters explores the issue here.

Rise in youth suicide needs joint effort from educators, health providers: More school-based health centers are needed for California students and communities under stress from the COVID-19 pandemic. More from Tracy Mendez in a CalMatters guest commentary here.

More from here & elsewhere

These companies are paying their employees to receive the Covid-19 vaccine (CNN)
Covid-19 variants make reopening more dangerous, infectious disease expert says (CNN)
Vaccinated people in SF can now get free Super Duper fries, free chips and salsa (SF Gate)
Operation Warp Speed’s Slaoui Ousted From Medical Company Board Over Misconduct Claim (NPR)
One California county says it has more vaccine than demand (SF Gate)
Got your stimulus check yet? Payments sent to 127M so far (USA Today)
It’s been 100 days since the first American was vaccinated. A lot has changed. (NBC News)

Most middle school children in Watsonville have benefited from a visit to the Watsonville Wetlands. It’s a non-profit...

Get your education right here

GET YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED | School reopenings in Santa Cruz County: When it comes to education post-pandemic, parents, educators and students have endless questions. So Lookout, in partnership with Event Santa Cruz, is giving you a chance to run your questions by two top Santa Cruz County Office of Education officials: Superintendent Faris Sabbah and Director of School Safety Jennifer Buesing.

When: 6 p.m. on Tuesday, March 30
Where: Zoom
Cost: FREE
Register and submit your questions ahead of time here.

#BOLO

If it’s a Thursday, you know the drill by now. Santa Cruz County health officials will be holding court with the media at 2 p.m. Shoot us your questions for Dr. Gail Newel & Co. and we’ll try to get some answers if possible. And, as always, Be On The Lookout for a link to the livestream that we will send out.

Until then, see you.

Mark Conley
Deputy Managing Editor