Sonoma County Office of Education

Covid-19 Contact Tracing and Staff Notification

08/17/2020 -

As the school year resumes, we know there may be questions about how SCOE will respond to confirmed cases of COVID-19 among staff, as well as employees who are showing possible symptoms. Based on the number of employees at SCOE, a case among our staff may unfortunately become a reality at some point. As essential workers, we need to know the protocol that will be followed. Please read on for more information.

We will also discuss this and take your questions during the next virtual all-staff meeting on Tuesday, September 1 at 2:00pm.

If an employee tests positive

If a SCOE employee tests positive for COVID-19, we will follow the protocol outlined by the county health department for office workplaces.

As outlined in this protocol, we will work with the county health nurse to identify and contact anyone who may have been exposed as a “close contact” to the sick employee. The county defines a “close contact” as being closer than six feet to the individual for at least 15 minutes (whether or not masks were worn).

Individuals identified as close contacts will be asked to quarantine at home for 14 days and receive a negative test before returning to work. The affected office area and any other spaces that the employee recently used will be thoroughly cleaned and sanitized. We will also work with the county health nurse to determine whether certain offices or facilities need to be closed. HR will work with anyone needing to stay home to be quarantined/isolated to ensure that you are supported through our sick leave and other related policies.

If an employee has symptoms

Any employee feeling sick should stay home, notify their supervisor, and contact their physician to see whether testing is necessary. If an employee develops symptoms during the workday, they should notify their supervisor, return home immediately, and contact their doctor. Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, chills, shaking chills, cough, difficulty breathing, sore throat, body or muscle aches, loss of taste or smell, loss of appetite, and diarrhea. If your doctor decides that you do not need to be tested, you still need to stay home for at least 48 hours after symptoms resolve before returning to work.

We know that it may cause concern to see or hear about a co-worker who may have symptoms. However, due to state and federal employee medical and privacy rights, we may not disclose when an employee goes home with suspected illness. Once a case is confirmed, then we can work with public health to notify anyone potentially impacted.

We ask that staff also respect one another’s privacy rights and avoid discussing or speculating about co-workers’ health with others. However, if you feel concerned about a colleague’s health, you can share your concern with them or with your supervisor, who can check their health status. If you have questions about whether or not you have been exposed in the workplace, please share them with your supervisor.

Classroom staff will additionally follow the protocols of the school site where they are working.