Oct. 16, 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.

New Dashboards Support Informed Decision-Making
As I shared last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released a tool to help school leaders make decisions about when and how to safely open schools for in-person learning. The Indicators for Dynamic School Decision-Making include measures of community spread and a self-assessed measure of school implementation of key mitigation strategies.

The San Diego County Office of Education (SDCOE) team has created a new 14-day case rate dashboard that will allow you to use the indicators as another way of assessing risk at the local level. The report gives the number of cases that were reported over the previous 14-day period, per 100,000 people for each of the county's ZIP codes. Click here for a brief video overview of the CDC indicators and the 14-day case rate.  

The new 14-day case rate dashboard is in addition to the 7-day average case rate reports we have been sharing, which show the average number of new cases reported each day during the first seven days of the last 14 days, per 100,000 people. Click here for an explainer on how to use this dashboard.

Both rates will be updated each Tuesday using data from the previous 14-day period. School leaders are encouraged to consult with public health experts for interpreting these unofficial metrics and to determine how each should be applied in decision making.

Updated Guidance on Singing and Band Practice 
The California Department of Public Health has updated its Schools Guidance FAQs to clarify that outdoor singing and band practice are permitted, provided that precautions such as physical distancing and mask wearing are implemented to the maximum extent possible. Playing of wind instruments (any instrument played by the mouth, such as a trumpet or clarinet) is strongly discouraged. District and site administrators should consider how to adapt plans and make sure spaces and times are made available to accommodate the change, and that good mitigation practices will be used.

CDC Guidance on COVID-19 Testing
The CDC has released Interim Considerations for Testing for K-12 School Administrators and Public Health Officials. The guidance provides a description of the different types of tests that are available and how they could be used as part of an effective testing strategy for specific circumstances. It may be helpful for districts and schools that are considering more frequent testing than is available through the county, and those considering routine testing of students. 

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