Sept. 3, 2021
Dear Superintendents and School Leaders,

I am writing with several updates since my last message.

COVID-19 K-12 Decision Tree Updated
The COVID-19 K-12 Decision Tree in English and Spanish have been updated to reflect the refined quarantine guidance released by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) on Sept. 1. Language was also added stating that at-home testing cannot be used for school quarantine decisions and that tests must be administered by a clinic, lab, or properly trained school employee working under agreement with an ordering physician. The Spanish version will be posted later today.

Testing Supply Update
In a letter to schools participating in the CDPH School Antigen Program, the California K-12 School Rapid Testing Program team shared that the California Testing Task Force has been able to secure a small volume of Abbott BinaxNOW tests for the program.

These tests are currently being shipped to schools that had orders pending. In addition, based on the current allocation, the testing team is "cautiously optimistic" it will be able to continue supplying schools enrolled in the program with a six-week supply of kits as well as potentially be able to provide test kits with minimal delay to schools that recently expressed interest in the CDPH School Antigen Program. If you are a school that has expressed interest in the program, we recommend that you continue the onboarding process.

Vaccination and Testing FAQ Updated
SDCOE's Frequently Asked Questions about Vaccine Verification and Testing for Workers in Schools webpage has been updated with the following information:

Can at-home test results be used to comply with the weekly testing required for school employees who do not provide evidence of full vaccination?
In a response to SDCOE, the CDPH responded that “at-home tests are useful for families to keep themselves and their communities safe, but schools are currently recommended to rely on testing conducted at school or at a medical facility to assess COVID-19 status and return to school from quarantine.”

New and Updated Parent and Employee Template Letters and Emails
We recognize that the quarantine options for students identified as close contacts of a COVID-19 positive individual are complex. SDCOE has developed three template letters in English and Spanish for schools and districts to utilize in communicating with parents once the quarantine option for a student has been identified. There is the existing generic letter to close contacts as well as letters that outline the following three scenarios:

In addition, we’ve made a minor modification to two of the template emails to employees regarding the requirement for vaccination or testing. Each includes instructions for uploading vaccine verification cards to PeopleSoft, but these instructions are only applicable to districts or charters that are on the SDCOE PeopleSoft system. Others will need to customize the letter to include whatever process your district/school is using for vaccine verification. The letters now reflect this distinction.

CDC Testing Communications Toolkit
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released a School Testing for COVID-19 Communication Toolkit for Schools. It includes materials to teach parents, students, and staff about school testing programs and to encourage participation.

Thank you for all that you do. As always, please reach out if you have any questions.


Dr. Paul Gothold
San Diego County Superintendent of Schools
phone: 858-295-6641