May 7, 2021
Dear Superintendents and School Leaders,

I'm writing with updates on several COVID-19-related items that have arisen since my last message and to share a reminder about the wearing of traditional tribal regalia or recognized objects of cultural or religious significance during graduation ceremonies.

School Employee Quarantine Update
Today the Governor's Office provided some important information regarding Cal/OSHA's emergency temporary standards (ETS) relative to the quarantine of fully vaccinated school employees who have had a COVID-19 exposure. 
1) Is there new guidance this week about vaccinated teachers and whether they need to quarantine if they are asymptomatic? 
The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) updated its Guidance for Fully Vaccinated People Tuesday to align with CDC guidance on the same topic. The updated CDPH guidance clarifies that exposed, asymptomatic, fully vaccinated workers in non-health care settings (including teachers and other school staff) do NOT need to be excluded from the workplace. Because of Executive Order N-84-20, CDPH guidance supersedes the Cal/OSHA standards on this specific point. This information, for your reference and to share with others in the school community, is posted on the Cal/OSHA ETS website here.  
2) When does the new guidance about vaccinated teachers and quarantine come into effect? 
The specific piece about vaccinated school staff and teacher quarantine is effective immediately. 
3) How does this relate to the anticipated new emergency temporary standards from Cal/OSHA? 
The anticipated new ETS standards, covering the full range of guidance, are scheduled to be posted for public comment today and reviewed by the standards board on May 20, then adopted a few days later. They will go into effect with adoption. Here is the link to the website where they are anticipated to be posted.  

The San Diego County Office of Education (SDCOE) team will work with local public health to review the new guidance and make updates to the COVID-19 decision tree (and the county public health order it is based on) as appropriate. We will share a link to the revised document when it is available.

School Reopening Dashboard Enhancements
We have released two enhancements to the San Diego County School Reopening Dashboard.

To provide a more accurate representation on the return to in-person instruction in the county’s charter schools, SDCOE is now displaying the data for classroom-based charter schools separately from charter schools that are designed to utilize independent study and virtual learning formats. About 45% of the county’s charter school students are enrolled in non-classroom-based schools that use hybrid or distance learning as their normal instructional format, so it’s important to view data on these students separately from those who would normally receive daily instruction in classrooms.

In addition, a new feature has been added that displays trends over time for the percentage of students participating in fulltime in-person, hybrid, and distance learning, for each school type (district, classroom-based charter, non-classroom-based charter, private, and all school types combined). For more information, check out the Reopening Trends by School Type tab on SDCOE’s reopening dashboard.

Expanding Learning Beyond the Classroom
The Assembly Bill 86 Expanded Learning Opportunities (ELO) grant funding provides an opportunity for local education agencies to implement a learning recovery program that, at a minimum, provides supplemental instruction and support for social and emotional well-being. ELO funding shall be expended only for any of the following purposes: extending instructional learning time, accelerating progress to close learning gaps, integrated pupil supports, community learning hubs, supports for credit deficient pupils, additional academic services, and training for school staff. SDCOE's Learning is Expanding Lab has developed Expanding Beyond the Classroom, a brief that highlights creative ways to re-engage and reimagine student learning within the Assembly Bill 86 ELO framework. You can also view the Expanding Possibilities document, which provides additional sample programming ideas curated from across the county. 

Wearing of Traditional Tribal Regalia
Graduation season is a time of enormous pride for students and their families and, hopefully, a time of inclusivity. As you prepare for graduation ceremonies, schools should be mindful that the State Legislature passed Assembly Bill 1248 in 2018, adding Education Code Section 35183.1. The code allows students to wear “traditional tribal regalia or recognized objects of cultural or religious significance” as adornment at school graduation ceremonies. A local education agency retains the discretion to limit an item that is likely to cause a substantial disruption of, or material interference with, the ceremony. This advisory from California Attorney General Rob Bonta contains additional detail.

Thank you for all you are doing during these unprecedented times. As always, please let me know if you have any questions or need support.


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