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.

Self-Care and Mental Wellness Webinar Tomorrow - Updated Zoom Link

Date: 04/22/2020

This is a reminder about tomorrow's webinar for SCOE staff on self-care and mental wellness, which will take place Thursday, April 23, at 1:00pm via Zoom. Please note that the Zoom information for this meeting has changed. The new details are available below. 

Join Zoom Meeting: 
Meeting ID: 935 7246 1074 
Audio Only: +1 669 900 6833 | Meeting ID: 935 7246 1074 
One tap mobile: +16699006833,,93572461074#  

Updates for SCOE Staff (Monday 4/20/20)

Date: 04/20/2020

Self-Care and Mental Wellness Webinar for Staff This Thursday

Thank you for your commitment to providing continued support to each other and those we serve in our community. While facing the new challenge of working from home, along with increased health and family stressors, it is common and expected to feel overwhelmed. Please connect with us for a Self-Care and Mental Wellness During Distance Learning webinar from 1:00-2:00pm on Thursday, April 23. In addition to providing you with tips and coping strategies, we hope to gain your input about how we can better support you during this time.

Meeting details: 

Date: Thursday, April 23

Time: 1:00pm

Zoom Video:

Audio Only: +1 669 900 6833 | Meeting ID: 912 0614 7186

One tap mobile: +16699006833,,91206147186#


Update on Masks

This is a reminder that any SCOE employee working in a social setting or work station within six feet of others must wear a mask/face covering. Additionally, when you are moving within the SCOE facility, such as down a hallway or to a bathroom, you must wear a mask. When at an individual work station away from others, masks are optional. 
You are strongly encouraged to bring your own face covering, which can be as simple as a bandana. Following is information regarding how to make your own mask. However, if you are unable to bring your own mask, please contact your supervisor prior to coming in to the office to request a mask from SCOE. 
We have already received several great photos of employees sharing their best mask style. These will be shared next week in the SCOE Portfolio. Submit yours to in order to be included in this fun photo gallery!

Online Offerings for Teachers and Administrators

The Instructional Leadership Corps is offering a variety of professional development and resources for teachers and administrators. Topics include technology, mindfulness, curriculum, and supports for ELs.

To learn more please see these fliers:

Updates for SCOE Staff (Friday 4/17/20)

Date: 04/17/2020

1. Inspiration Break: Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman Offers Words of Hope Amid Pandemic

America's Youth Poet Laureate, Amanda Gorman, recites a poem of hope amid these challenging times in this beautiful video created for the CBS morning show. 


2. Update on Mask Requirements for SCOE Employees

Based on new guidance from the County Health Officer, any SCOE employee working in a social setting or work station within six feet of others must wear a mask/face covering. Additionally, when you are moving within the SCOE facility, such as down a hallway or to a bathroom, you must wear a mask. When at an individual work station away from others, masks are optional. Wearing a face covering helps to ensure that you will not spread germs to others in the event that you are sick but asymptomatic.

More information on face covering requirements is available here. Masks can be a simple home-made face covering or bandana. Following is information regarding how to make your own mask. If you do not have access to a face covering, please consult with your supervisor before coming in. With advance notice, SCOE can provide masks/face coverings to those who need them.

SCOE continues to closely monitor the new coronavirus in collaboration with county officials. The peak of the virus in Sonoma County is now expected to occur in mid-May. For more general information, visit

3. Send SCOE Your Best Mask Photo

Wearing masks is our new reality for now. To make the best of this important safety requirement, we're encouraging staff to send in pictures of themselves at work or with family, modeling their best mask style. Send us a picture and a brief description and we'll include it in a photo gallery in the May issue of the Portfolio newsletter!

Updates for SCOE Staff (Tuesday 4/14/20)

Date: 04/14/2020

1. Inspiration Break: Oakland teachers pledge stimulus checks to undocumented families left out of coronavirus aid

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to wreak havoc on the state’s economy, a group of teachers and principals in Oakland are pledging their federal stimulus checks to undocumented families at their schools who are excluded from such aid.

According to KQED, the educators at the Oakland Unified School District launched the Stimulus Pledge campaign Thursday in response to the enormous stress and despair they say they are witnessing among immigrant parents who have lost all income under shelter-in-place orders, but are left out of unemployment insurance and many other benefits.

“We are in contact with our families every day and what we are hearing is heartbreaking,” said Anita Iverson-Comelo, a principal at Bridges Academy at Melrose, in East Oakland. “We feel like we have to do something.”

Learn more.


2. Important Financial Update

The Governor's Department of Finance has announced that the original January budget projection is no longer valid due to a projected economic downturn resulting from the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. Anticipating that schools may see less revenue than previously expected in 2020-21, we are asking that each SCOE department develop more conservative budgets for the next fiscal year. Specifically, we ask that departments look at reducing their expenses by about 15 percent in the 4,000-6,000 object codes. This includes unrestricted expenses such as supplies, travel and conference, contract services, and equipment. 

For the remainder of this fiscal year ending June 30, we ask that each department question all expenses to make sure that the expense has a direct benefit to schools and students or is a necessary service for this year's operation. Your cooperation and understanding is appreciated and will help SCOE weather the economic impacts from this pandemic. 

3. Shelter-in-Place Reimbursements

SCOE will be reimbursing staff for some expenses related to working from home. These include additional cell phone or Internet charges for work-related activities, paper, toner, printing costs, or other reasonable costs, subject to approval. Costs not listed here should be pre-approved for reimbursement by your supervisor.

In order to be reimbursed, please save original receipts. Then download and fill out this form. The form will need to be signed by you and your supervisor. Your supervisor will then forward the signed form to fiscal support staff in business services for processing. Physical signatures are preferred when possible, but electronic signatures will be accepted as well.

4. Remote Work Reminder: SCOE Accounts are not for Personal Use

As a reminder, please be sure to keep your personal and work accounts separate while you are working remotely. In particular, your SCOE Gmail, Google Drive, and Zoom accounts should only be used for SCOE-related business. This helps keep your work-related communications more secure. 

Updates for SCOE Staff (Monday 4/6/20)

Date: 04/06/2020

1. Inspirational Video Break

Students at an Orange County school for deaf and hard of hearing received a specially-made video from their teachers this week, saying how much they are missed during the school closures. Set to “It’s a Small World,” the video features teachers, at home in Disneyland attire, singing, signing and smiling for their students.

2. Tips for a Safe and Professional Zoom Meeting

As we are all working from home to maintain safe social distancing, online conferencing is becoming a staple of our daily work.  Whether you are a seasoned Zoom user or a novice, the SCOE Communications team, in collaboration with IT, has developed a list of best practices to follow. This guide will ensure your Zoom meetings are professional and effective.


Additionally, it is important to be aware that online video conferencing is vulnerable to hacking and cyber-attacks. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has provided the following tips regarding important precautions for staff using video conferencing for meetings or classroom activities. 


3. Anthem Employee Assistance Program Now Offering COVID-19 Webinars

Your Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is here to support you and your family during the evolving COVID-19 outbreak and is now offering a series of no cost pre-recorded seminars to help you cope. Newly released seminars include:

•Talking with your child about COVID-19

•The intersection of uncertainty and parenting

•Living in uncertain times

•Financial uncertainty


•When & where to get medical advice

•How to keep your family healthy

•Meditation and mindfulness exercise

To access seminars go to  Enter your company’s code (SISC) or “EAP Can Help” and select Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resources located below just below the EAP phone number on your company’s landing page.


4. Thriving Schools Webinars Offered by Kaiser Permanente

Educators have access to webinars being offered by Kaiser Permanente-Thriving Schools. Topics include: How Schools Can Partner with Families during Distance Learning, Comprehensive Self-Care for Educators, and more. 

Learn more and register.


5. At SCOE, (Wild)life Goes On

People may be gone temporarily from 5340 Skylane Blvd., but nature is not. In a happy sign that life goes on despite the shelter-in-place, a pair of Canadian geese, pictured here, have established a nest at SCOE. To protect their privacy and avoid scaring off the nesting mother, we are not disclosing the location of the nest. If you happen to be at SCOE and see these birds, dubbed “Mr. and Mrs. SCOE,” please give them plenty of space. We hope to be able to share pictures of young goslings in the weeks ahead!

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