Oct. 1, 2020
Dear Superintendents and School Leaders,

I’m writing with updates on several COVID-19-related items that have come up since my last message.

School Employee Testing Site Update
The County of San Diego has provided an updated address for the South County school employee testing site. It is 650 L St. in Chula Vista. Our template letter for communicating with your staff members has been updated to reflect the change.

New Law on COVID-19 Notification
Last month, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law Assembly Bill 685 (Reyes). Under this new law -- which takes effect Jan. 1, 2021 -- employers must notify all employees (including subcontracted employees who were on the premises at the same worksite) within 24 hours of a receiving a notice of potential COVID-19 exposure. Employers must also provide all employees with information regarding COVID-19-related benefits such as workers compensation, COVID-19-related leave, and sick leave.

As regulations have evolved, and public health conditions have changed, schools have been required to be extremely flexible in our planning. This timeline notes key milestones since San Diego County schools closed in March to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

ZIP Code Dashboard 
We have gotten some questions about the dashboard SDCOE created showing the unofficial seven-day case rate for each ZIP code in the county. This short presentation gives an overview of the dashboard and details how the dashboard can help school leaders.

National COVID-19 School Response Dashboard 
A collective of national education organizations, researchers, and technology experts unveiled the National COVID-19 School Response Dashboard last week. This is the first nationwide database that systematically maps schools' responses to the pandemic across the United States.

The dashboard, created by Qualtrics, currently provides information at the state level, such as: school type (public, independent, etc.); average student infection rate (based on a reported two-week period); average staff infection rate (based on a reported two-week period); and whether the school is currently in-person, hybrid, or fully virtual. The dashboard will be continuously updated as districts join this effort and provide new information on details such as case count and learning model.

Superintendents can enroll their school districts here. Principals can enroll their schools here.

The organizing partners for this project are AASA, The School Superintendents Association; the National Association of Secondary School Principals; the National Association of Elementary School Principals; Brown University Professor of Economics Emily Oster; and Qualtrics.

I also want to draw your attention to two new non-COVID-19 resources.

Free Speech Rights of Public Employees 
The issue of employee free speech rights is complicated and highly nuanced. It requires a balancing of interests on a case-by-case basis based upon the facts of each situation. This advisory from SDCOE’s general counsel examines the issues, including a look at Black Lives Matter as a matter of political controversy or public concern.

Civics Resources
The SDCOE team has curated resources to help educators teach about voting and the 2020 election. Given that the upcoming election can evoke high levels of emotion from students and create extreme discord, it is especially important that educators create an environment that supports civil discourse. View the resources.

Thank you for all you are doing during these unprecedented times. Please don't hesitate to get in touch if I can be of assistance.


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