COVID 2021

COVID PM: The big J&J news. Remembering Vai. The COVID kindergarten enrollment drop

Happy, Friday, everyone — first off thanks to my compadres Chris and Tulsi for picking up my slack last night!

I was lucky enough to slip out and attend a pandemic-delayed memorial — that perfectly collided with Earth Day — for Vaidehi Campbell Williams, one of the 34 diving enthusiasts who perished when their boat tragically caught fire off the Channel Islands in September 2019.

As Vai’s mom told me yesterday, they were expecting a service planned for Twin Lakes Church in late March 2020 to attract some 500 people. “By then it was clear that wasn’t going to be OK,” she said.

There were a few other small gatherings here and there in the months that followed to honor her daughter, but clearly Thursday’s planting of the Vaidehi Campbell Williams Memorial Garden was an especially apt reminder of who Vai was. Please read my story here if you haven’t already.

One other tangentially COVID-related news item to note here: Our Nick Ibarra just broke word that the SLV superintendent sent an apologetic letter to parents over the misconduct allegations that have rocked the high school in recent weeks. This comes only days before all students are to get back onto the Felton campus since the pandemic shutdown last spring.

The other big headlines of the day:

J&J BACK IN PLAY: Experts agreed that the blood clot concerns of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine are not enough to keep it shelved.
PARENT PLAYBOOK: You’re vaccinated, your kids aren’t. How should that dictate activities?
K-12 NUMBER DROP: A dearth of kindergarteners has led to an unprecedented drop in public school enrollment statewide.

More on each of those headlines ...

Another green light for the J&J

j&j

VACCINE WATCH: A federal advisory panel has recommended that immunizations with Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine be resumed despite a tiny risk of blood clots. On a 10-4 vote, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices on Friday reaffirmed its earlier recommendation that the vaccine be used for people ages 18 and up. More from content partner the LA Times here.

I’m vaccinated and my kids aren’t ...

six flags

PANDEMIC LIFE: If you are vaccinated and your kids are not, the extent of your newfound freedom may feel uncertain. Will this long-awaited immunity allow you to return to something that resembles your pre-pandemic life? Or do you have to wait until your kids are vaccinated as well? The Times explores those questions here.

Presented by UC Santa Cruz

A new partnership between UC Santa Cruz and United Way will support community-engaged research and offer UCSC...

Missing kindergarteners drive enrollment drop

Naptime at Gateway School.
(Kevin Painchaud/Lookout Santa Cruz)

COVID K-12: The pandemic has intensified a multiyear trend of dwindling student enrollment statewide, causing a steep drop this year. More than a third of the decline stemmed from 61,000 missing kindergarteners. There are a lot of reasons for this, but here’s one: Confronted with the struggles of remote learning, including requiring a 5-year-old to sit still in front of a computer for hours daily while simultaneously balancing work and toddlers, some kindergarten parents simply kept their children in preschool, which offered the in-person interaction that young children need. More from EdSource here.

Over the years, programs at Life Lab have emerged into one of the premier educational resources for gardening in the...

More from here & elsewhere

Warriors guard Damion Lee tests positive for COVID-19, says he ‘did get the vaccine’ (SF Gate)
Track the spread of the Covid-19 variants across the United States (NBC News)
Scientists Say The Rush To Do COVID Research Led To A Whole Lot Of Waste (NPR)
Coronavirus FAQ: What Does It Mean If My Ears Ring Or Toes Hurt After A Vaccine? (NPR)
Ron Johnson downplays urgency of getting COVID-19 vaccine (CNN)
NFL is lifting COVID-19 constraints on vaccinated players (LA Times)
How one restaurant’s experiment may help diners breathe safely (SF Gate)
Canada reaches deal with Pfizer for vaccines in future years (ABC News)

The big dining event is May 4

chefs
(Event Santa Cruz)

Santa Cruz Eats!” is part of Lookout’s COVID 2021 series, a special initiative to do deep reporting and community engagement on the pandemic — and economic recovery.

Damani Thomas, owner and chef at Oswald; Brad Briske, co-owner and chef of HOME in Soquel; and Gema Cruz, chef at Gabriella Cafe, will join Lookout for a virtual conversation at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, May 4, hosted by Lookout food contributor Amber Turpin and Me.

Click here to register for this awesome, FREE event.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Mark Conley
Deputy Managing Editor