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925.942.3429

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News and Press Releases

Education Headlines

February 20, 2015

Rep. Mark DeSaulnier explores education issues during local schools tour
CONCORD – When Mark DeSaulnier was elected in November to succeed retiring Rep. George Miller, he knew he was replacing a powerhouse on the Education & Workforce Committee.

Academic Decathlon: Moraga's Campolindo headed to state
PITTSBURG – Campolindo High School of Moraga won the 2015 East County Regional Academic Decathlon for the fifth straight year, with Lafayette's Acalanes High placing second at the Feb. 11 event.

Home News Story Students take to the Delta for hands-on science discoveries
BROAD SLOUGH – Engines thrumming, the boat pulled away from Antioch's marina and headed toward the open water for another day of discoveries on the Delta.

February 18, 2015

Report calls for districts to create specific goals for foster youth
A review of California district plans for improving school climate shows that few districts have identified specific goals to improve attendance and reduce suspensions and expulsions of foster students.

West Contra Costa school district: Parents battle for new campuses
RICHMOND – A battle over which West Contra Costa school district campuses will be built with $592 million left in construction bond money is forcing parents whose kids attend aging facilities to compete against each other as they urge the board to make their sites a top priority.

Walnut Creek: Education forum focuses on district budgets, policies
WALNUT CREEK – No one disagreed when Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla told local educators, “We've kind of had you on a roller coaster.”

February 11, 2015

Technology takes hold in the early grades
Whether solving math puzzles to help a penguin waddle across a computer screen or sounding out words in Mr. Sounders' virtual classroom, K-2 students are increasingly embracing technology in California schools.

Mojdeh Mehdizadeh takes the reins of San Pablo's Contra Costa College
SAN PABLO – Contra Costa Community College District recently announced its appointment of an interim president to its San Pablo campus.

West Contra Costa school board OKs temporary Valley View campus
RICHMOND – In a 3-2 vote, the West Contra Costa school board on Wednesday agreed to spend $3.6 million on a temporary campus for Valley View Elementary school, after a heated debate over construction priorities.

February 9, 2015

County DA's office, probation target young teens to stop crime before it starts
ANTIOCH – Strewn across a table at the front of the classroom, the impressive array of gang paraphernalia was having the desired effect.

Oakley high school's campaign to target potty-mouthed students as well as litter
OAKLEY – Freedom High officials soon will be stepping up reminders to put garbage in its place, and they don't just mean littering.

West Contra Costa County Education Fair is Saturday in Richmond
RICHMOND – Parents of students in the West Contra Costa school district and their families are invited to a free Education Fair on Saturday at the Nevin Community Center.

February 4, 2015

API should be replaced, state committee recommends
A state advisory committee that spent more than two years trying to find a way to rejigger the Academic Performance Index is now recommending moving away from that single number in favor of a more comprehensive system allowing for a broader picture of school effectiveness.

'Peaceful School' conference: Justice, empathy and equity in classrooms
PLEASANT HILL – As improbable as it may sound, the life of a young person can be transformed merely by being seen.

Mt. Diablo school's Spanish-English immersion program seeks kindergartners
WALNUT CREEK – In side-by-side classrooms, kindergartners at Bancroft Elementary are learning to read, write, sing, add and talk to each other and their teachers in both English and Spanish.

February 2, 2015

Smarter Balanced “interim assessments” finally released
The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium has finally released the “interim assessments” schools can use to gauge how well their students are doing in math and English language arts instruction aligned with the Common Core standards. Districts that are using the assessments will now have access through a secure browser on the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress website (caaspp.org).

Deer Valley High's student store well stocked with DIY lessons
The Wolverines' Den is open for business. But the fledgling student-run store that opened on the Antioch campus last spring is considerably more than a convenience -- it provides real-world lessons that can't be found in any textbook.

January 28, 2015

Measles outbreak prompts schools to push immunizations
The largest outbreak of measles in California in years is prompting school officials to redouble their efforts to convince parents to vaccinate their children.

Deer Valley student video to serve as CHP promo
ANTIOCH – Some Deer Valley High students recently applied their skills behind the camera to a project that law enforcement plans to give maximum exposure.

Antioch High wood shop students put theory into practice with guard shack
ANTIOCH – Driving a nail in straight isn't necessarily a no-brainer. “Oooh!” a student in Kevin Jones' wood shop class said teasingly as he watched a classmate bend the nail he was hammering into a two-by-four.

January 27, 2015

Pittsburg students re-enact Selma march
PITTSBURG – Early Monday afternoon, a stretch of Century Boulevard became the scene of something that's familiar to many parts of the country, but unusual for this neck of the woods: a mass of more than 600 marchers – many of them wielding signs inscribed with civil rights slogans of the past and present – who spanned nearly a half-mile as they made their way across town, with police in tow.

'Linked Learning' gives high school students hands-on, real-world career training
Under the watchful eye of Marin County prosecutor Otis Bruce, Jr., De Anza High School senior Angelina Quilic, 18, stepped confidently to the podium in her law academy class and fired questions at her witness, classmate Kofi Asante, 17.

Richmond soccer coach quietly puts emphasis on education
R ene Siles wants to make one thing very clear – the success of the Richmond High School boys soccer program is not about him.

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CCCOE Press Releases - 2015

February 2015

January 2015


February

Congressman Mark DeSaulnier dialogues with local
superintendents as part of Education Listening Tour

PLEASANT HILL – Most of the 18 school district superintendents within Contra Costa County spent the first part of their monthly meeting in dialogue regarding local education issues with the newly appointed member of the House Education & Workforce Committee. As part of his “Education Listening Tour,” newly elected Congressman Mark DeSaulnier paid a visit to the Contra Costa County Office of Education in Pleasant Hill to speak with the education leaders of the county’s 18 school districts about issues that impact them and their communities.

“An important part of my education listening tour involves having meaningful discussions with school administrators about ways to improve our educational system. I am grateful to Contra Costa County’s new Superintendent of Schools Karen Sakata for inviting me to participate in the first Superintendents' meeting of the year,” said Congressman Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11).

Issues of common interest to both DeSaulnier and the superintendents included equitable funding related to California’s Local Control Funding Formula, and potential partnerships related to federal and state education grant opportunities.

“The fact is that California public schools are still woefully underfunded, and we are still well below 2007-08 funding levels in per-pupil funding,” said Contra Costa County Superintendent, Karen Sakata. “Congressman DeSaulnier shares our concerns and we look forward to an active partnership on this and other issues while he is a member of Congress.”

DeSaulnier’s tour will take him to visit schools and districts throughout California’s 11th District.


Campolindo High School named 2015 East County Regional Academic Decathlon Champion

PLEASANT HILL, Calif., February 12, 2015 – At Wednesday's energy-filled Academic Decathlon Awards Reception, Campolindo High School (Moraga) won the 2015 East County Regional Academic Decathlon for the fifth straight year. Along with being the Regional winner, the team will also represent Contra Costa County in the California State Academic Decathlon competition. Following Campolindo, were Acalanes High School (Lafayette), second place, and Las Lomas High School, third place.

Directed by the Contra Costa County Office of Education (CCCOE) and with the assistance of 180 community volunteers, the county's Academic Decathlon provides an opportunity for high school students to compete as individuals and teams in a series of ten academic tests and demonstrations. The subjects in the competition include art, economics, language and literature, mathematics, music, science, social science, essay, interview, and speech (prepared and impromptu), plus the popular SuperQuiz™, a Jeopardy style team competition which brought the program to a close.

Approximately, 140 participating high school students have been studying and preparing for this event with their coaches since September. This year's Academic Decathlon theme was New Alternatives in Energy: Ingenuity and Innovation.

This year's teams represent the following high schools: Acalanes (Lafayette), California (San Ramon), Campolindo (Moraga), Concord (Concord), Dublin (Dublin), Freedom (Oakley), Las Lomas (Walnut Creek), and Pittsburg (Pittsburg). Along with Campolindo High School being Contra Costa County's champion for five straight years, they were last year's national winner in the Medium School Category. Visit this Web page to see Contra Costa County winning schools over the years.

High school teams are made up of nine students, grades 9-12, with a maximum of three students in each of the following divisions: Honors (3.75-4.00 GPA), Scholastic (3.00-3.74 GPA) and Varsity (2.99 GPA and below).

The Campolindo High School team will represent Contra Costa County at the California State Academic Decathlon, to be held in Sacramento, March 19-22.

The 2015 East Bay Regional Academic Decathlon overall school rankings:

  1. Campolindo
  2. Acalanes
  3. Las Lomas
  4. Freedom
  5. Concord
  6. Pittsburg

Due to not being able to field the necessary number of students for their schools to compete, Dublin and California High Schools were not eligible to place in the overall team rankings. But, these two teams' participants were eligible to earn individual awards.

Compolindo High School also won this year's East Bay Regional Academic Decathlon SuperQuiz™, held last Saturday.

Individual Gold Awards (highest individual score)

Top Scoring Individual – Varsity
Holden Kolner (11th grade), Campolindo

Top Scoring Individual – Scholastic
Will Coates (12th grade), Campolindo

Top Scoring Individual – Honor
Katie Coates (12th grade) Campolindo

Individual Perfect Test Scores

Katie Coates (12th grade), Campolindo – Science Test
Uma Gaffney (11th grade), Campolindo – Speech Test
Nick O'Dea (12th grade), Las Lomas – Speech Test
Iris Wang (11th grade), Acalanes – Interview Test

The Academic Decathlon was first created by Dr. Robert Peterson, former Superintendent of Schools in Orange County, California. Firmly believing that everyone's learning potential can be maximized through competitive challenge, Dr. Peterson set in motion the contest that has since come to be recognized as the most prestigious high school academic team competition in the United States. The program spread rapidly throughout the states due to the success and excitement it engendered. USAD was founded in 1981.

This year's National Academic Decathlon will be held in Garden Grove, Calif., April 16 – 18.


East Bay Regional 2015 Academic Decathlon concludes with
the always thrilling SuperQuiz™

WHAT: This year's East Bay Regional (Contra Costa and Alameda Counties) 2015 High School Academic Decathlon will conclude this coming Saturday, with objective testing and SuperQuiz™. Directed by the Contra Costa County Office of Education (CCCOE) and with the assistance of community volunteers, the county's Academic Decathlon provides an opportunity for high school students to compete as individuals and teams in a series of ten academic tests and demonstrations. The subjects in the competition include art, economics, language and literature, mathematics, music, science, social science, essay, interview, and speech (prepared and impromptu)–plus the popular SuperQuiz™.

Approximately, 140 participating high school students have been studying and preparing for this event with their coaches since September. This year's Academic Decathlon theme is New Alternatives in Energy: Ingenuity and Innovation, and the Super Quiz™, a Jeopardy style team completion will bring the program to a close.

ACTION: Providing outstanding audio, video, and photo opportunities, the approximately 60-minute SuperQuiz™ portion of the Acadeca Decathlon (a team-relay event) always produces the excitement and electrifying mixture of the remaining minute of a tied countywide basketball championship game and the final winning question on a TV game show. The gym's bleachers are filled with families, friends, and teachers, cheering on their teams. The SuperQuiz™ will open up with the traditional entrance of the teams into the gym, while brandishing their school's banner.

WHO: This year's teams represent the following high schools: Acalanes (Lafayette), California (San Ramon), Campolindo (Moraga), Concord (Concord), Dublin (Dublin), Freedom (Oakley), Las Lomas (Walnut Creek), and Pittsburg (Pittsburg). Campolindo High School has been Contra Costa County's champion for the past four years, and was last year's national winner in the Medium School Category. Visit this Web page to see Contra Costa County winning schools over the years.

High school teams are made up of nine students, grades 9-12, with a maximum of three students in each of the following divisions: Honors (3.75-4.00 GPA), Scholastic (3.00-3.74 GPA) and Varsity (2.99 GPA and below). The winning team will represent Contra Costa County at the California State Academic Decathlon, to be held in Sacramento, March 19-22. This year's National Academic Decathlon will be held in Garden Grove, Calif., April 16 – 18.

(The winning Contra Costa and Alameda County teams will represent their county in the California State Academic Decathlon.)

DATES / LOCATIONS:
Saturday, February 7, 8:00 a.m.–3:50 p.m.; Los Medanos College (gymnasium),
2700 E. Leland Rd., Pittsburg
** SuperQuiz™ begins at 2:35 p.m., finishing around 3:50 p.m.

Best time for photo, video, and audio opportunities:
**Saturday, February 7, 2:35-3:50 p.m. at Los Medanos College (gymnasium)—The SuperQuiz™ Relay.

Wednesday, February 11, 6:00–7:30 p.m.; Contra Costa County Office of Education,
77 Santa Barbara Rd., Pleasant Hill—Academic Decathlon Awards Ceremony.

HISTORY: The Academic Decathlon was first created by Dr. Robert Peterson, former Superintendent of Schools in Orange County, California. Firmly believing that everyone's learning potential can be maximized through competitive challenge, Dr. Peterson set in motion the contest that has since come to be recognized as the most prestigious high school academic team competition in the United States. The program spread rapidly throughout the states due to the success and excitement it engendered. USAD was founded in 1981.

January

Karen Sakata Sworn In as Contra Costa County's
New Superintendent of Schools

Superintendent of Schools Karen SakataPLEASANT HILL, Calif., January 5, 2015 – On a bright, shiny, and a bit chilly morning, more than 300 attendees witnessed former Contra Costa County Office of Education (CCCOE) Deputy Superintendent Karen Sakata be sworn in as the county's new superintendent of schools. She is the county's first female superintendent schools, as well as the position's first Asian American.

The program's opening awed the crowd with Los Medanos College student Justin Everhart singing a spectacular acapella version of the National Anthem. This was followed by Sakata's introduction and remarks made by Joseph A. Ovick, Ed.D. Dr. Ovick, who officially retired his 18-year service as the county's superintendent of schools on this day, told the crowd: “With her wealth of experience and great reputation here in Contra Costa County, we are very excited about Karen taking over as the new superintendent. Karen is a proven, dynamic leader who is passionate about life-long learning. She has tremendous knowledge in all aspects of school leadership, and our students, educators, and administrators will certainly benefit from her guidance.” Following his speech, it was Dr. Ovick's final duty to introduce and swear in his elected successor.

After being sworn in, Sakata told the crowd, “Our agency has an amazing reputation in Contra Costa County and beyond, thanks largely to Dr. Ovick's leadership during the past 18 years. What I want for students in our county is what I always wanted for my own children – to be ready for college and work, to follow their passions, and to be good citizens.”

The exciting morning also included words of grateful thanks to Dr. Ovick and overwhelming confidence in Sakata, made by the county's Board of Education Vice President Pam Mirabella. In addition, the audience heard a moving poem written and read by Kathy Moore, curriculum coordinator, San Ramon Valley Unified School District and poet laureate for the City of San Ramon.

Sakata literally finished the ceremony with a bang (numerous bangs, actually), as she joined her fellow drummers with the Diablo Taiko Club, to perform two exciting rhythmic pieces.

Sakata, who was elected as the Contra Costa County superintendent of schools in the past June 2014 election, had been the CCCOE's deputy superintendent. While serving in this position, Sakata also directed the agency's Human Resources department. Before transferring to Human Resources, Sakata was the CCCOE's associate superintendent, student programs and services, from July 2008 to July 2010. Prior to joining the CCCOE, she spent 14 years as principal of Ayers Elementary School in Concord (Mt. Diablo Unified School District). Earlier in her professional career, Sakata worked primarily as a special education program specialist, special education teacher, and administrator in the Mt. Diablo Unified School District. Her teaching positions include special education teacher, speech and language pathologist, resource specialist, and an early childhood specialist.

Sakata holds an M.A. in speech pathology from San Jose State University and a B.A. in psychology from the University of California, at Berkeley. In addition, she has earned a number of education-related certifications, credentials, and licenses. She and her family reside in Danville


Contra Costa County High School Mock Trial is looking for legal professionals to volunteer a few hours of their expertise

MARTINEZ, Calif., January 8, 2015—Bay Area soon-to-be, practicing, and retired law professionals are needed to provide assistance to their future brethren at the upcoming 34th Annual Contra Costa County High School Mock Trial Program, held in the early evenings throughout the month of February, at the Martinez Court Rooms. Last year, 130 Bay Area practicing and retired attorneys and sworn judges, as well as third-year law students volunteered their time with the Mock Trials.

Coordinated by the Contra Costa County Office of Education (CCCOE), Mock Trial is an academic event provided for high school students. The hands-on educational program was created to help students acquire a working knowledge of our judicial system, develop analytical abilities and communication skills, and gain an understanding of their obligations and responsibilities as participating members of our society. This year's trial: People v. Shem – an art theft case, featuring a pretrial argument on the Fourth Amendment.

“I encourage all my fellow law professionals to join us in serving as volunteer Mock Trial judges and attorney scorers,” says Contra Costa County Presiding Judge Steve Austin. “Not only is it a wonderful service to our county's high school students, but you will really enjoy watching them in action. You will be impressed with the skill these young men and women demonstrate in our courtrooms. Every year I volunteer, I am continually amazed at the obvious time each student has invested to participate in this challenging academic event.”

2014 Mock Trial winning artist

Teams of high school students work with teachers and volunteer coaches to prepare their version of the criminal case, from both the prosecution and defense perspectives. Students assume the roles of trial attorneys, pre-trial motion attorneys, witnesses, clerks, bailiffs, artists, and court journalists. Mock Trial judges and attorneys score their performance and provide immediate feedback. Winning teams advance through seven rounds of competition. The county's champion advances to the State finals. This year, there will be 18 Contra Costa County high school Mock Trial teams competing.

Volunteers will score two competing schools that argue the cases in their assigned court. Each night, will begin with a 15-minute rules and regulations session, then the volunteers will go into their scheduled courtrooms to serve as Mock Trial judge and scorers. The Mock Trials' scorers are made up of Bay Area deputy district attorneys and deputy public defenders, as well as public-sector, private-practice, and corporate lawyers. In addition, seasoned law students are also welcome to participate. A practicing or retired judge or commissioner will preside over each trial, and also serves as one of the trial's scorers.

Teams from the following 18 Contra Costa County high schools will be competing:
Acalanes (Lafayette), Alhambra (Martinez), California (San Ramon), Campolindo (Moraga), Clayton Valley Charter (Concord), De Anza High (Richmond), Deer Valley Law Academy (Antioch), Dougherty Valley (San Ramon), El Cerrito (El Cerrito), Hercules Middle/High (Hercules), Heritage (Brentwood), Kennedy (Richmond), Las Lomas (Walnut Creek), Miramonte (Orinda), Monte Vista (Danville), Northgate (Walnut Creek), Pinole Valley (Pinole), and Richmond (Richmond).

Schedule for 2015 Contra Costa County High School Mock Trials:

Preliminaries: February 3, 5, 10, 12, 5:00–7:30 p.m. (Nine competitions each night)
Quarterfinals: February 17, 5:00–7:30 p.m. (Four competitions)
Semifinals: February 19, 5:00–7:30 p.m. (Two competitions)
Final and Consolation: February 24, 5:00–7:30 p.m. (Two competitions)

Mock Trial will be headquartered at the A.F. Bray Courthouse, 1020 Ward Street, in Martinez.

Interested volunteers can learn more by visiting the CCCOE's Mock Trial Web page, or contacting Jonathan Lance at (925) 942-3429.

The two highest-scoring teams will advance to the finals on Tuesday, February 24. The winning team will then represent Contra Costa County at the California State Mock Trial competition, held in Riverside, Calif., March 20-22. The California state finalist team will then compete in the National Mock Trial Competition, held in Raleigh, NC, May 14-16.

In 1977, the Constitutional Rights Foundation (CRF) introduced the concept of mock trials to the Los Angeles schools. In 1980, the program expanded to the state level. The California Mock Trial Program currently involves more than 36 counties and over 8,000 student participants from more than 400 teams. Approximately 1,500 attorney volunteers serve as team coaches and scorers, and 500 Municipal, Superior, and Appellate Court judges preside over the trials.

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Advisories

January 2015

Measles Update From Contra Costa Health

The following is a letter to Parents, Students, School Employees, and Volunteers from Contra Costa Health Services.

Versión en Español (pdf)

We are writing to update you on the measles situation in California and Contra Costa County. At this time there are no measles cases reported in Contra Costa County, but other counties in the Bay Area have reported cases. It is possible that there will be more measles cases. As of January 27, 73 people in California have been confirmed with measles since late December 2014.

We want to reassure parents that although measles is very contagious, it is highly preventable through vaccinations. If your children have been fully vaccinated, they are well protected from catching measles. However, California's measles outbreak serves as an important reminder that everyone needs to be vaccinated if they have not had the disease in the past.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and pediatricians recommend that children get two doses of the MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine. The first dose is given at 12 to 15 months of age and the second dose usually at 4 to 6 years of age. Two doses of MMR vaccine are more than 99 percent effective in preventing measles.

Not only is the MMR a doctor-recommended vaccine, it is also required for school. School immunization requirements make schools and our community safer and healthier. Unless they have an exemption, most children who attend public and private schools in California have received MMR vaccine.

However, in settings where large numbers of unvaccinated people gather, such as international tourist attractions or schools with high exemption levels, vaccine-preventable diseases such as measles can spread quickly and sicken many, including babies too young to be vaccinated and those who cannot be vaccinated because of a health condition.

Adults also need to be up to date on vaccinations. We recommend that everyone, including parents, teachers and volunteers, review their vaccination records.

People born before 1957 are considered immune as they likely had measles as children and developed immunity from the disease. Ask your doctor if you have any questions about your vaccination status.

For more information about measles and measles vaccine, please visit: www.cchealth.org/measles

October 2015

Ebola Facts and Information From Contra Costa Health

The following is a letter to Parents, Students, School Employees, and Volunteers from Contra Costa Health Services.

To Parents, Students, School Employees and Volunteers: With the news of the Ebola outbreak in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, and of the recent arrival of the disease in the United States, many of you may have questions and concerns. At this time there are no confirmed or suspected cases of Ebola in Contra Costa County, or any reported cases in California, and the risk of someone becoming infected in our community remains very low.

As your county public health department, we at Contra Costa Health Services wanted to share the facts about Ebola, and let you know about the proactive steps being taken to keep the community as safe as possible from Ebola and other serious diseases.

Many people are understandably concerned about the possibility of becoming exposed to Ebola through travel, particularly air travel. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has some information regarding this on its website: http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/diseases/ebola.

It is important to understand that Ebola can only be spread through direct contact with the blood or other body fluids of a sick person. Infected people become contagious when they begin experiencing symptoms, which include fever, vomiting and diarrhea.

Ebola does not spread through the air. The only people who are likely to become infected with Ebola are those who are in direct contact with a person who is or was sick at the time of contact. In this case, “direct contact” means that the body fluids of an Ebola patient would need to touch your eyes nose, mouth, or through broken skin.

Though the risk of an Ebola case appearing in Contra Costa County is low, we must still be prepared and are taking steps to protect our community. All of the county's hospitals and other parts of the healthcare system are working together to ensure that our plans are up to date for safely detecting, isolating and treating Ebola patients to protect the public and contain the disease, should the need arise.

We are in regular communication with the school districts to ensure your schools are informed about the latest developments on this disease.

To learn more about Ebola, or to keep up with local information about the disease, visit www.cchealth.org/ebola. The CDC also maintains current information about Ebola at www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola. If you have any questions about Ebola, contact your healthcare provider or call the Contra Costa Public Health Communicable Disease Program at 925-313-6740.

William B. Walker, M.D.
Director and Health Officer
Contra Costa Health Services


 

Prevention Tips for Enteroviruses

The following is a letter to School Administrators, Teachers, and Daycare Providers from Contra Costa Health Services.

As your school prepares for cold and flu season, please remember that the Contra Costa Public Health is available to answer questions, provide information and support your efforts to protect students and staff from getting ill.

One of the most important ways that you can help is to encourage staff, students and families to get their flu vaccine as soon as possible. Annual flu vaccination is recommended for everyone 6 months and older.

We also hope you will promote frequent hand washing with soap and water at your school, and teach younger children how to do a good job. We have included links to hand-washing signage that you can post in hallways, bathrooms, classrooms and the lunch room.

We are counting on you to let us know when an unusual number of students in a class get sick with a respiratory illness OR have vomiting or diarrhea. We can provide advice about when to send notifications to families, how long children should stay home from class and how to help people who were potentially exposed to a disease.

Many of you have questions and concerns about Enterovirus-D68 (EV-D68), the respiratory illness affecting children across the country. We do anticipate EV-D68 cases in Contra Costa County, and are working with local hospitals and providers to test people hospitalized with serious respiratory infections. EV-D68 is concerning because it can be serious for certain people, particularly children with asthma or other respiratory conditions.

There are more than 100 types of enteroviruses, and they are very common in children. This enterovirus, EV-D68, is not new – it was first identified in 1962 – and it mostly causes symptoms that are similar to those of a cold or flu, such as cough, sneezing, runny nose, body aches, or fever. Many children infected this year by EV-D68, however, do NOT have a fever.

EV-D68 can spread from person to person when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or contaminates a surface with respiratory secretions. It can also spread through contact with stool (poop). Measures we can all take to stay healthy include:

  • Avoid touching the face (nose, mouth and eyes) with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with sick people.
  • Encourage everyone to cover their coughs and sneezes.
  • Wash frequently with soap and water. Alcohol-based hand cleaners do not kill enteroviruses.

Clean often-touched surfaces, such as toys and door handles, especially if someone is sick. Disinfect them with a diluted bleach solution (1/4 cup bleach to 1 gallon water) or another EPA-approved disinfecting product that indicates use for non-enveloped viruses (such as norovirus).

ADDITIONAL QUESTIONS AND RESOURCES:
The Contra Costa Public Health Communicable Disease Programs can be reached Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 925-313-6740 (phone) or 925-313-6465 (fax).
More information may be found at cchealth.org/enterovirus/ or cdc.gov/non-polio-enterovirus/about/ev-d68.html

October 2013

Bats Can Carry Rabies—Don't Bring Them to School

Has anyone ever brought a bat to your school or classroom? It happens more than you might think.

Three times in the past year, the Public Health Division of the county health department has received reports of elementary school students bringing bats to classrooms for show-and-tell. In two of those cases, parents gave their children the bats to take to school with them. These parents didn't realize bats are often carriers of rabies and they were putting their kids and others at risk. Please make sure parents, students and teachers know that bats should never, ever be brought to school.

Of the 252 animals that tested positive for rabies in California last year, 227 of them were bats. Handling a rabid bat can result in exposure to the virus through unnoticed scratches or bites (bats have very small teeth and sometimes people don't realize they've been bitten). Even coming into contact with a dead bat can be dangerous.

Though rabies infections in people are rare in the U.S., once symptoms begin rabies is almost always fatal, making it crucial that an exposed person receive treatment to prevent rabies. Fortunately, none of the children who brought the bats to their schools got sick, although one child did need shots because the bat she showed her teacher later tested positive for rabies.

These episodes at Contra Costa schools reinforce the need to educate people about the risks of handling wildlife, especially bats.

For more information about rabies, including what to do if you do have contact with a bat, please visit cchealth.org/rabies


January 2012

Controlling the Spread of Norovirus in Schools
and Child Care Settings

Outbreaks of norovirus infection are more likely to occur during winter months within institutions such as residential facilities, hospitals, long-term care facilities, schools, and child care settings. The virus is easily spread from person-to-person through direct contact, contact with contaminated surfaces, and ingestion of contaminated food. This information is provided by Contra Costa County Communicable Disease Control to assist with the recognition and control of norovirus infections in schools and child care facilities.

Norovirus Characteristics
The typical symptoms of norovirus are nausea, vomiting, low-grade fever, abdominal cramps, and watery, non-bloody diarrhea. Vomiting is more common in children. Symptoms usually develop within 24 to 48 hours after exposure, but can appear as early as 12 hours. Illness typically lasts 12 to 60 hours and usually will resolve on its own.
Norovirus is spread very easily from person to person, and people can become infected with the virus in several ways, including:

  • Eating food or drinking liquids that are contaminated with norovirus.
  • Touching surfaces or objects contaminated with norovirus, and then eating or placing their hand in their mouth.
  • Having direct contact with another person who has norovirus. Examples include, caring for someone with illness, or sharing foods or eating utensils with someone who is ill.

The virus can persist on surfaces in the environment for weeks and is not destroyed by many disinfecting products. When an individual with norovirus handles or prepares food and drinks improperly, they can contaminate those items and can cause infections in people who consume those products; therefore, food workers with diarrhea or vomiting should not work until at least 48 hours after their symptoms have stopped.

Re-infection can occur multiple times during a lifetime. An outbreak of norovirus infection is suspected when more than two students and/or staff in a facility or classroom have symptoms of this virus, starting within a 48 hour period. Report any suspected outbreaks to Communicable Disease Programs at 925-313-6740.

Diagnosis and Treatment
Individuals with diarrhea and vomiting should drink plenty of fluids and follow the control measures on the next page to prevent spread in their households. There is no vaccine or specific therapy for norovirus infection; treatment is supportive and focuses on preventing dehydration. If symptoms do not improve, individuals should contact their primary care physician. Confirmatory laboratory testing for norovirus during an outbreak can be arranged through the Contra Costa Public Health Laboratory by contacting the Communicable Disease Program. During community-wide outbreaks or periods of high norovirus transmission, laboratory diagnosis may not be necessary.

Control Measures
Strict infection control practices are necessary to control norovirus spread. Hands should be washed vigorously with soap and warm water for> 20 seconds:

Wash Hands AFTER:

  • Toilet visits
  • Cleaning up vomit or diarrhea
  • Changing diapers
  • Handling soiled clothing or linens
  • Contact with a symptomatic person
  • Sneezing, coughing

Wash Hands BEFORE:

  • Eating or feeding children
  • Food preparation
  • Serving food
  • Providing healthcare services

Read Complete Article Here
Contra Costa Health Services Link

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Page updated on: February 24, 2015

Rev: 0.4-010514-BETA4