Dec. 14, 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 Responsibilities in Support of Contact Tracing
Evidence suggests that schools in San Diego County are currently not well equipped to support effective contract tracing. To support this effort, the San Diego County Office of Education (SDCOE) and the San Diego County Health & Human Services Agency - Epidemiology Unit have developed recommendations for establishing procedures for more effective contact tracing.

Cal/OSHA COVID-19 Prevention Program Requirements
A Cal/OSHA emergency regulation requires employers to create a written COVID-19 prevention program or an addendum to the Injury and Illness Prevention Program that includes the following elements:
  1. Systems for communication
  2. Identification and evaluation of COVID-19 hazards
  3. Investigation and responding to COVID-19 cases in the workplace
  4. Correction of COVID-19 hazards
  5. Training and instruction
  6. Physical distancing
  7. Face coverings
  8. Other engineering controls, administrative controls, and personal protective equipment
  9. Reporting, recordkeeping, and access
  10. Exclusion of COVID-19 cases
  11. Return-to-work criteria

Since Cal/OSHA has been conducting site visits for compliance, it’s a good time to review your prevention program and to ensure you are addressing the required elements. This fact sheet and these frequently asked questions may prove helpful.

County to Present on ZIP Code Data Tool
The County of San Diego’s K-12 telebriefing this week (Dec. 15 at 10 a.m.) will feature a presentation on the county’s ZIP code data tool to understand COVID-19 community transmission. We know this might be of interest to you, so we wanted to make sure you were aware of this upcoming presentation.

McKinsey Report on Learning Loss
In the spring, the consulting firm McKinsey & Company found that school shutdowns were likely to compound racial disparities in learning and achievement, analyzing the toll on learning, dropout rates, and the overall economy. They have followed up with a new report, COVID-19 and Learning Loss—Disparities Grow and Students Need Help, which notes that while there have been significant efforts to close the digital divide and improve remote learning, Black and Hispanic students continue to be more likely to remain remote and are less likely to have access to the prerequisites of learning—devices, internet access, and live contact with teachers.

The new report includes data analysis and offers strategies for schools to create acceleration plans using evidence-based strategies that support students with more time and more dedicated attention.

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