DATE OF ORDER: December 23, 2021
Please read this Order carefully. Violation of or failure to comply with this Order is a misdemeanor and may be punishable by fine, imprisonment, or both. (California Health and Safety Code § 120275, et seq.)
UNDER THE AUTHORITY OF CALIFORNIA HEALTH AND SAFETY CODE SECTIONS 101040, 101085, AND 120175, THE HEALTH OFFICER OF THE COUNTY OF SONOMA (“HEALTH OFFICER”) ORDERS:
- Summary. This Order of the Health Officer requires public and private schools serving students in Transitional Kindergarten through grade 12 to require Workers to get tested twice weekly for the virus that causes Coronavirus Disease 2019 (“COVID-19”) or produce satisfactory evidence that they are Fully Updated against COVID-19.
- Effective Date and Time. This Order takes effect at 12:01 a.m. on February 1, 2022.
- Basis for Order. On August 11, 2021, the California Department of Public Health (“CDPH”) issued an order requiring all public and private schools serving students in transitional kindergarten through grade 12 to verify the COVID-19 vaccination status of all workers and to require unvaccinated or incompletely vaccinated workers to undergo diagnostic screening testing.This Order is made in light of the emergence in Sonoma County of the Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, and the imminent threat that it poses to the health of vulnerable residents and the capacity of the healthcare system. Emerging evidence indicates that the Omicron variant is significantly more transmissible than prior variants of the virus, and that individuals who have had only their initial vaccine series and are eligible for the booster, are susceptible to the Omicron variant.However, initial evidence also shows that individuals who have received a booster shot increase their immunity to a level that confers more protection from all circulating SARS-CoV-2 variants, including the Omicron variant. The CDC and the CDPH now recommend that all eligible persons receive a booster shot because immunity wanes several months after completion of the initial vaccine series.Vaccination is a safe and effective critical component in preventing COVID-19 and its associated harms. Individuals who have not received a booster shot are more likely to become infected and spread infection to others, and more likely to become seriously ill or die. Workers in schools should receive booster shots when eligible to maintain the protective effect of the high community-wide vaccination rates in our County.After consulting with local school and community leaders, I have determined that it is necessary and appropriate to require all schools subject to the CDPH order to require Workers to get tested twice weekly for the virus that causes Coronavirus Disease 2019 (“COVID-19”) or produce satisfactory evidence that they are Fully Updated against COVID-19. This order is necessary to ensure that we collectively protect the health and well-being of all; keep schools open for in-person instruction; and allow Sonoma’s economy to remain open and thrive.
- COVID-19 Test Requirements. Except as set forth in Section 4 of this Order, an Employer shall require all of its Workers to do the following:
- Receive a COVID-19 Test at least twice a week; and
- Unless test results are sent directly to the Employer by the test provider, Workers must promptly provide the results of each COVID-19 test to the Employer for Record-Keeping.
Employer may confirm a positive antigen test with a confirmatory nucleic acid amplification test; Employer shall not use another antigen test to confirm a positive antigen test. Employer must exclude from work any Worker who receives a positive antigen test.
- Fully Updated Workers. An Employer may exempt the following Workers from being subject to the COVID-19 Test Requirements set forth in Section 3 of this Order:
- Fully Updated Workers; and,
- Fully Vaccinated Workers who are not eligible for a booster (as defined below in Fully Updated). Fully Vaccinated Workers must show proof to their Employer that they have received a booster dose of a COVID-19 vaccination within fifteen (15) days of becoming eligible, or they must be subject to the COVID-19 Test Requirements (Section 3 above).
An Employer may accept any of the documentation allowed in CDPH Order for Vaccine Verification for Workers in Schools. In the absence of knowledge to the contrary, an Employer may accept the documentation presented as valid.
- Face Covering Requirement. Workers who are subject to the COVID-19 Test Requirements (Section 3 above) must wear FDA-cleared surgical masks or respirators in indoor work settings, unless exempted from wearing a face covering under Cal/OSHA COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standards and/or the Cal/OSHA Aerosol Transmissible Diseases Standards.
- Record-Keeping Requirements. An Employer must keep and maintain a record of the following information for the purpose of inspection by an authorized representative of the Health Officer:
- For Workers who provide the Employer with documentation in accordance with Section 5 of this Order: (1) Full name and date of birth; (2) COVID19 Vaccine manufacturer; and (3) dates of COVID-2 Vaccine administration.
- For other Workers: COVID-19 Test results.
- For purposes of this Order, the following terms have the meanings given below.
- “CDC” means the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- CDPH” means the California Department of Public Health.
- “COVID-19 Test” means a nucleic acid amplification or antigen test to detect infection of a person with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
- “COVID-19 Vaccine” means a vaccine to prevent COVID-19 that is (1) administered under an emergency use authorization from the FDA; (2) approved by the FDA; or (3) listed for emergency use by the World Health Organization.
- “Employer” means public and private schools serving students in Transitional Kindergarten through grade 12, inclusive, except that it does not apply to home schools. Further, it does not apply to child care or to higher education.
- “FDA” means the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
- “Fully Vaccinated” means a person’s status two weeks following the person’s receipt of a single-dose COVID-19 Vaccine or the second dose of a two-dose COVID-19 Vaccine.
- “Fully Updated” means that an individual is not only “Fully Vaccinated” but has also obtained a booster dose of a COVID-19 vaccination for which they are eligible as authorized by the FDA. For example, as of the effective date of this Order, individuals who received their second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine more than six months ago are eligible for and must obtain a booster shot to be Fully Updated, while individuals who received one dose of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine more than two months ago are eligible for and must obtain a booster shot of any of the available vaccines to be Fully Updated.
- “Transitional Kindergarten” means the first year of a two-year kindergarten program that uses a modified kindergarten curriculum that is age and developmentally appropriate.
- “Worker” means all paid and unpaid adults serving in the school settings. Workers include, but are not limited to, certificated and classified staff, analogous staff working in private school settings, and volunteers who are on-site at a school campus supporting school functions.
- Obligation to Follow Stricter Requirements of Orders. Where a conflict exists between this Order and any state or federal public face covering order related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the most restrictive provision (i.e., the more protective of public health) controls.
- Copies; Contact Information. Copies of the Order shall promptly be made available (1) at the County Administration Center at 575 Administration Drive in Santa Rosa (2) by posting on the County’s website and (3) to any member of the public requesting a copy.
IT IS SO ORDERED:
Dr. Sundari R. Mase, MD MPH
Health Officer of the County of Sonoma
Frequently Asked Questions
Health Order C-19-32 requires that, beginning Feb. 1, workers in public and private schools serving students in Transitional Kindergarten through grade 12 are both vaccinated and, when eligible, boosted, or test twice per week.. This order was later amended to include an extension of the testing requirements until as soon as “sufficient testing” is secured and no later than 12:01 a.m. on March 1, 2022. See: Amendment No. 1 to Orders of the Health Officer of the County of Sonoma Nos. C19-32 & C19-33.
Health Order C19-33 applies to all workers and personnel, including administrative and clerical support staff as well as volunteers, who work in public and private schools serving students in Transitional Kindergarten through grade 12, and those who have the potential for direct or indirect workplace exposure to members of the public or to other workers subject to this order.
Yes, the Order applies to all part-time, stipend and volunteer workers.
Do workers covered by Health Orders C19-32 and C19-33 need to test while on vacation, or extended leave of absence, longer than a week?
Workers who are not fully vaccinated are subject to weekly testing. These workers do not need to test while on vacation, or extended leave of absence from work, for longer than a week. However, they must test before returning to work, or whenever they come to their workplace.
Remote staff, or those who do not work in the office, and do not meet this definition, are not covered by this Order.
The health order comes with a strong recommendation that all employers require their workers to get vaccinated or submit to weekly testing. The County of Sonoma as an employer plans to adopt this policy.
Current state and federal employment law supports employers requiring documentation of vaccination status, requiring vaccination as a condition of employment, and requiring additional safety precautions including masking and frequent testing for employees who are unvaccinated.
As of Feb. 1, 2022, state and federal employment law supports employers requiring documentation of vaccination status, requiring vaccination as a condition of employment, and requiring additional safety precautions including masking and frequent testing for employees who are unvaccinated.
A growing number of corporations including Google, Disney, and Walmart have begun mandating that their employees show proof of vaccination to protect against the spread of COVID-19. A number of local businesses have done the same including some restaurants, which have begun requiring proof of vaccination from customers before being allowed to dine indoors.
You are fully vaccinated two weeks after you have received two doses of either the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines or one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. You are fully updated when you are fully vaccinated AND you have also received a booster dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, when eligible.
You are now eligible for your booster dose of COVID-19 vaccine five months after your second dose of Pfizer or Moderna, one month earlier than when Health Order C19-32 was written. If you received a Johnson & Johnson vaccine, you remain eligible to get your booster two months after receiving the single dose.