Sonoma County Office of Education

Coronavirus Updates / Links for SCOE Staff

This page provides news, announcements, and administrative resources related to COVID-19 (Coronavirus) for employees of Sonoma County Office of Education.

Updates for SCOE Staff (Friday 4/3/20)

Date: 04/03/2020

1. Video Break: Texas District Finds Humor Helpful in Trying Times

Like most districts across the nation, schools in North Texas are dealing with the stress of being closed due to COVID-19. Ennis Independent School District used humor to lighten things up in this video, which shows the school’s police dog searching for hidden contraband. But instead of narcotics, he finds something in short supply these days...toilet paper! Watch the video.


2. Masks Now Required for Essential Staff

Per the County Health Officer’s order, any “essential staff” who are in a position where they may be interfacing with the general public will be required to wear a mask, effective Monday. If this applies to you, please contact your direct supervisor to learn how you can receive a mask. 


3. Important Changes to Access to SCOE Facilities

In response to the County Health Officer’s most recent shelter-in-place order, as well as Gov. Gavin Newsom’s guidance, SCOE must further limit access to the Skylane facility. SCOE can only have 10 people in the building at any given time. 

If you need to come to the facility in order to do work or pick up materials, access is now limited to Tuesdays and Thursdays only between the hours of 10:00am and 2:00pm. You must make an appointment prior to coming. To request an appointment, please email Mary Downey ( and copy Mark Silva ( and Kimberly Valley ( Appointments must be requested by email, not phone. 

Thank you to everyone for working within these parameters, which are necessary to ensure the safety and health of all staff.


4. Updated FAQs

In light of the news that schools will continue distance learning through the end of the academic year, SCOE has updated its FAQ document regarding COVID-19. This document may be helpful in talking about these issues with the public. Access the FAQs here


5. Health and Wellness Resources

St. Joseph’s Health has provided online resources to help employees stay healthy and deal with stress. Access some excellent resources via the links below. Additionally, an infographic with helpful self-care tips is attached. 

Updates for SCOE Staff (Tuesday 3/31/20)

Date: 03/31/2020

All-Staff Meeting Video and Slides

Thank you to everyone who attended today's virtual, all-staff meeting. More than 200 employees joined for an update on SCOE operations. A recording of the presentation, as well as a copy of the slideshow, is now available here


Update on Employee Assistance Program

We have heard that some employees have encountered difficulty getting connected with therapists/counselors when using the Employee Assistance Program (EAP). SCOE has looked into this and was reassured that employees would not experience a wait list with or be put on hold when calling the 800 number (1-800-999-7222) to receive assistance. However, some service providers may have wait lists or delays due to the high demand for service right now. While The EAP has no control of when these providers are scheduling appointments, they suggest the following strategies to help you get service as soon as possible: 
1) Call the EAP and explain the difficulty you are having.
2) Request that the EAP help you speak to a clinician. 
3) Request that the EAP do a search on your behalf to find a provider that is available and taking new patients.
4) Request to be connected to Live Health online (the EAP will provide a discount code to access this service).
Additionally, there are myriad resources available through the EAP website, including online chats, audio files, videos, and FAQs covering various mental health concerns. SCOE HR recommends the "Balancing" and "" tabs. In order to access them, employees and dependents need to set up an account with a login and password. You can also call the 800 number for assistance navigating the website.
Access the EAP online by going to and entering the Company Code "SISC". 
Connecting with Students
While we do our best to continue academic learning remotely, social-emotional connection with the teachers they know and trust is also vital for students during these challenging times. We ask that SCOE teachers do their best to connect over phone or video chat with each of their students at least once a week. 

Updates for SCOE Staff (Monday 3/30/20)

Date: 03/30/2020

1. Inspirational Video Break

For today's inspirational video break, we're highlighting this video of a Fresno-area principal who is using video to keep up his students' and families' spirits with warmth and humor.

*If you have an idea for an inspirational video or story to share with other SCOE staff, please share with Jamie Hansen at Videos/pictures/stories should be related to schools or SCOE employees.

2. Reminder: All-Staff Meeting Tomorrow, March 31

In the midst of the upheaval to our normal lives and routines, we wish to provide an opportunity for staff to hear from SCOE leadership and connect virtually. All staff are invited to a virtual meeting to be held Tuesday, March 31, at 11:00am. If you can’t make it, we will send out a recording after the meeting.

*We are accepting questions from staff as it relates to SCOE's operational status, financial impact, and support services to districts. If you have a question, please email it in advance to Kim Vallee at This will allow Dr. Herrington to be prepared to answer questions at the end of the meeting. Staff are also welcome to submit questions during the presentation using the chat feature in Zoom.

Meeting Details:
Zoom Video:
Audio Only: +1 669 900 6833 | Meeting ID: 707 446 791
One tap mobile: +16699006833,,707446791#

3. Checking Email/Away Messages

This is a reminder that SCOE is still open for business, with all staff on call to work remotely. SCOE's expectation is that staff will check email at least three times a day and respond to emails within 24 hours during the work week.

However, we are now recommending that you remove your out-of-office messages in your email. These messages are creating excess emails and can give the impression to the community that staff are not working. As an alternative, please consider placing a message in the footer of your email that explains that staff are working remotely.

Here is an example of language that you can use: **Please Note: SCOE staff are working remotely while offices at SCOE are closed through at least May 1.**

4. IT Supports for Working Remotely

In need of IT support as you adjust to your temporary home office? This document provides helpful information and resources for working remotely.

Updates for SCOE Staff (Friday 3/27/20)

Date: 03/27/2020

1. Inspiration Break

We can all use a break from the news and a bit of inspiration right now. In the weeks ahead, we’ll be including an uplifting story or video in each SCOE Announcement. Today, we’re featuring this video from Chino Valley School District in southern California. When the high school choir’s show was canceled, they made the best of the situation and came together online to sing this beautiful rendition of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.”

2. You’re Invited: All-Staff Virtual Meeting

In the midst of the upheaval to our normal lives and routines, we wish to provide an opportunity for staff to hear from SCOE leadership and connect virtually. All staff are invited to a virtual meeting to be held Tuesday, March 31, at 11:00am. If you can’t make it, we will send out a recording after the meeting.
Meeting Details:
Zoom Video:
Audio Only: +1 669 900 6833 | Meeting ID: 707 446 791
One tap mobile: +16699006833,,707446791#

3. Maintaining Normalcy and Routine

Dr. Herrington would like to reassure and remind staff that SCOE will be operating with as much normalcy as possible under the current conditions. Please keep all meetings scheduled as much as you can and simply move group discussions to Zoom when necessary. It is important that we maintain as much consistency as we can to ensure a functional and stable organization and minimize stress on all staff. Let's keep business moving forward as best as we can while being flexible as much as is reasonable.

Staff are also reminded that they should continue to be responsive to email and voicemail. Messages should be returned within 24 hours during the work week to the extent possible. Consider an out-of-office response that sets the expectation for when you will return messages.

4. Employee Assistance Program

As news of COVID-19 continues to evolve, it’s normal to think a lot about dependent care, personal finances or even your family’s preparedness. Rest assured you’re not alone. Remember, your Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is always here to provide you and your household members support during challenging times. Learn more and access the EAP here.

5. Appointments to Visit SCOE

As a reminder, if you need to visit SCOE to conduct SCOE business, please make an appointment first by taking the following steps. Due to high demand, requests for appointments will be processed within 48 hours.

Email Mary Downey ( and cc Mark Silva ( and Kimberly Vallee ( to schedule an appointment.

In this email, please provide the following information:
Your name, department, and title
The date and time you wish to come (must be between 10:00am-2:00pm). Visits are restricted to an hour or less to allow for multiple visitors per day.
The work that you need to do (check mail, deposit request, submit purchase orders, etc.).

6. Distance Learning Webinar a Success

Thank you to the Educational Support Services team, which on Friday, March 27, provided an in-depth webinar on distance learning for school districts. More than 80 people attended virtually and were able to learn about how to serve students with disabilities, English learners, young children, and much more.

7. Friendly Reminder: Take the Census

Schools rely on federal funding that is based on how many residents are counted in the Census every ten years. Now, it’s time for the 2020 Census. This time we all have at home provides a great opportunity to do your part and fill out this important survey.

Sonoma County Schools Plan for Distance Learning Through May 1

Date: 03/25/2020

As of March 25, Sonoma County Office of Education (SCOE) recommended that Sonoma County school districts plan to continue distance learning through at least May 1. This guidance was based on consultation with the Sonoma County Health Officer and was made in consultation with the county superintendents in Napa, Marin, and Solano counties. These counties will also be advising schools to plan for in-person classes to be canceled through May 1.

Full details can be found in this press release

Important Notice About Access to Skylane Facility

Date: 03/24/2020

Dear SCOE Team, 

Thank you for your ongoing efforts to continue your work remotely to serve students and staff.
Please note that the Skylane facility is closed for general business in compliance with the county's shelter in place order. 
The building has been thoroughly cleaned and sanitized, but to assist our custodial staff in maintaining cleanliness, visitations to the facility are on an appointment-only basis. By county order, the building is restricted to no more than 10 people at any given time. To ensure staff health and safety, please observe the following guidelines: 
  1. Effective Wednesday, March 25, if you need to visit SCOE to conduct business, you must first make an appointment by taking the following steps:
      1. Your name, department, and title
      2. The date and time you wish to come (must be between 10:00am-2:00pm). Visits are restricted to an hour or less to allow for multiple visitors per day.
      3. The work that you need to do (check mail, deposit request, submit purchase orders, etc.)
  2. Everyone who visits the building must check in and out at the front desk. You will be restricted as to what parts of the building you can go to.
  3. Due to limited custodial staff, individual work stations will not be available. There will be a special work station set up in the board room where you can complete the needed tasks. You will be asked to clean the station prior to leaving.
Thank you for your help in ensuring staff health and safety!

Back to "School"

Date: 03/23/2020

Dear SCOE Team, 

As spring break comes to an end, we welcome everyone back to these changed circumstances. We know these are challenging times and we appreciate your flexibility and patience as we all adjust to how we can best serve students in this "new normal." If you have questions about the best way to approach your work under these new circumstances, please connect with your supervisor for guidance. SCOE serves a critical function supporting families, students, and schools during this challenging time. We thank you for your dedication and commitment to students.

- Dr. Steve Herrington, Sonoma County superintendent of schools


Working While Away from the Office

As a reminder, staff are still expected to be responsive to email and voicemail during working hours. Please make it a point to check your email several times a day. Consider an out-of-office reply that sets expectations for how quickly you can realistically return messages. In support of SCOE's mission of service to the community, we strongly encourage you to provide an initial response to messages within 24 hours during the work week. 

Incurring personal expenses

For staff incurring personal expenses for work, such as mailing materials to students, printing, stamps, envelopes, etc. they should keep records of expenses and receipts as appropriate. Please be sure to tape receipts to a piece of paper. Please note the SCOE print shop is available for class set copying if needed. Contact Scott Straub ( and copy Mark Silva ( to place your order. They can be submitted to our business department for reimbursement.

March 31 Payroll Checks

Date: 03/23/2020

Employee payroll checks will be mailed out on Tuesday, March 31, since SCOE department staff are no longer on-site to pick them up. Please let Katie Tuscano or Maria Verdejo know if you have any questions.

Info for Staff

Date: 03/20/2020

SCOE's new Coronavirus webpage for staff

There is a new staff page for information on COVID-19 (Coronavirus). This page will include news, announcements, and administrative resources for SCOE employees. The new page also includes shareable resources, press releases, and information on SCOE's Employee Assistance Program (EAP). Please be sure to check it frequently for new information. You can access it here.

How to change your SCOE voicemail and email messages

While you are working remotely, we have posted information on how to change your incoming SCOE email and voicemail messages. There are instructions on how to set up call forwarding on your SCOE phone line and instructions on how to set up a temporary voicemail greeting. You'll also find a template for a temporary voicemail greeting. In addition there are instructions for accessing your SCOE voicemail remotely.

SCOE's essential services will continue to operate

We want to reassure Sonoma County public school employees that SCOE's essential services, including payroll and accounts payable, will continue during shelter in place. All regular school employees will be paid during the suspension of schools. You can read more here. We thank all employees for your dedication, hard work, and flexibility during these challenging times.

The latest information for schools and families

Our Coronavirus information webpage for schools and families continues to be updated. There are now resources for families staying at home with children and a document on how to talk with kids about the Coronavirus. You can find the webpage here.

SCOE Moves to Essential Staff Only

Date: 03/17/2020

Due to the anticipated shelter-in-place order set for tomorrow by the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors, SCOE will be moving to only essential operations effective Wednesday, March 18, 2020.

We will send out further directions later today or as soon as they are available. In the meantime, please prepare your departments and/or programs for the following:

  • As of today, employees will remain on their regular work schedule.
  • Only essential staff identified by SCOE leadership are to report to their work sites tomorrow.
  • All staff will continue to be paid according to their regular work schedules and are to remain available/on-call during their normal work hours for assignments delegated by their supervisor during this time.
  • The SCOE Skylane facility will remain operational for essential staff only. The facility will be closed to the general public, but will open for districts on a restricted basis.
  • While the shelter-in-place order remains, staff will continue to conduct work from home if assignments are issued by their supervisors. Staff that are on vacation calendars will not be expected to work remotely. If you have questions/concerns about remote work, please speak with your supervisor.
  • For staff authorized to access the VPN network, more information will be provided about remote assignments as soon as it becomes available.
  • If you have SCOE-issued computers/laptops, plan to take those devices home with you today as non-essential staff will not be permitted to access SCOE facilities while the shelter-in-place order is in effect.
  • At this time the duration of the shelter-in-place order is not defined, though it may extend two weeks or more. Therefore, if you have perishable food at your workspaces or in refrigerators, please take it home with you at the end of the day today. Please also take any personal plants or other personal items of value home with you at the end of the day today.

Thank you for your continued support and commitment to SCOE and the students in districts we serve as we deal with this challenging situation.