Nov. 13, 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.

Purple Tier Impact on Schools
In response to questions from the San Diego County Office of Education (SDCOE), the county has advised that if a school is providing in-person instruction for a portion of its student body, and that instruction is provided by a certified teacher and based on a formal curriculum, the school is “open” and can continue to expand its in-person instruction via its phased reopening plan.

While we are awaiting formal confirmation in writing, the county has informally advised SDCOE that schools that have temporarily shifted to distance learning while we were in the red tier may return to in-person instruction even though the county is now in the most restrictive (purple) tier.

We are working with the county to determine the process for schools to comply with the California Department of Public Health guidance that schools that have begun a phased reopening can continue in phases “if authorized by the local health officer.” 

Elementary School Waiver Process
With the county now in the most purple tier, the County of San Diego has reopened the elementary school waiver process. Approval allows elementary schools to open for in-person instruction while the county is in the purple tier. Apply online here. 

County of San Diego Schools FAQ
The County of San Diego has created an extensive frequently-asked-questions webpage with information on school reopening and the tier system, reporting COVID-19 cases, screening and testing, and more. View it here.

New Case Rate by ZIP Code Dashboard
The County of San Diego has begun publishing seven-day average case rates that report the average number of new cases reported each day during the first seven days of the last 14 days, per 100,000 people. The new site also includes a map aligned to the tier system that illustrates transmission rates within each of the county’s ZIP codes and jurisdictions. 

With the county’s new report, SDCOE will cease publication of our unofficial seven-day case rate dashboard. 

State Issues Travel Advisory
Gov. Gavin Newsom has issued a travel advisory urging residents not to travel out of state for the upcoming holiday and recommending that those who travel quarantine when they return. SDCOE’s Communications team has updated our template letter in English and Spanish to reflect the new advisory.  

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