July 13, 2021
Dear Superintendents and School Leaders,

As you know, yesterday the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) released COVID-19 Public Health Guidance for K-12 Schools in California, 2021-22 School Year.

The guidance originally stated that schools must exclude students from campus if they are not exempt from wearing a face covering under CDPH guidelines and refuse to wear one provided by the school. However, last night CDPH rescinded that rule — while keeping in place the face covering mandate for all at K-12 schools.

The revised guidance now allows local school officials to decide how to respond to students who refuse to wear masks.

I would also like to share updates on other COVID-19-related items and opportunities that have arisen recently.

Updated Parent Letter Encouraging Vaccinations for Children 12 and Older
The journey for children to become fully vaccinated against COVID-19 takes 35 days, so the time is now for parents and guardians to consider vaccinating their children ages 12 and older if they haven’t already. This will allow children to have the fullest protection possible before the 2021-22 school year begins. The San Diego County Office of Education (SDCOE) Communications team has updated the template letter about vaccination availability for this age group to include this timetable and some additional reasons provided by the County of San Diego to get vaccinated. 

State Child Care Guidance Updated
CDPH has released updated guidance for child care providers. This single document is inclusive of Cal/OSHA and Department of Social Services, Community Care Licensing (CCL) guidance. It explicitly advises to use the strictest guidance if there is a discrepancy with CDPH, CCL, and the local health department. 

As per Cal/OSHA, written plans must be developed and implemented. There is room for decision making by child care providers within the CDPH guidance document in order to meet the spirit and intent of recommendations.

If a subcontractor provides child care services, the subcontractor and school should coordinate prevention, containment, and reporting measures applicable to the child care setting(s) on the campus. 

Licensed sites are required to follow health recommendations for the prevention and containment of communicable diseases. Sites with temporary site licenses issued by CCL may have their licenses extended through the end of September 2021 after consulting with CCL.

SDCOE and the San Diego Child Care and Development Planning Council have created an Early Learning and School Age Care Settings Covid-19 Implementation Checklist to assist schools and child care providers conduct a review of the CDPH guidance, prepare to update operations, and implement updated operating procedures. The checklist also provides useful resources and templates.

Pandemic EBT Communication Resources
Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) is a federal program that provides food benefits to help families with young children (ages 0-6) who got CalFresh Food, and school-age children who were eligible for free or reduced-price school meals in the 2020-21 school year and are assumed to have attended school via distance learning at least some of that time. 

The P-EBT webpage has launched and is intended to be a one-stop shop for P-EBT information for eligible families and partners. On the webpage, you can find the latest program updates, program information, and answers to frequently asked questions. District and school partners can visit the Partners page to access client education materials and resources to help get the word out. 
Opportunity Scholarships Outreach Materials
During the pandemic, there’s been a dramatic decline in college scholarship applications and enrollment. The College Board has designed a creative approach to incentivize students to stay on track with the college planning process by offering them chances for $500 scholarships for each easy college-planning action they complete. When students complete all six steps, they earn a chance at a $40,000 scholarship. Students whose families earn less than $60,000 per year have double the chances to earn scholarships. We encourage you to also help share and spread this message to your stakeholder groups using a social media outreach toolkit from the College Board. 

Summer Opportunity for School Leaders
SDCOE has partnered with longtime educators and equity and leadership development experts Dr. Angela Bass and Wendell Bass to provide a two-day learning session for district and school leaders in August. The informative and practical learning opportunity will help district and school leaders create a plan to meet and address the needs of all students and the adults that support them. This is an opportunity to better serve each and every student and ensure they thrive. Register to join the live webinar Aug. 5 and 6 from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. for $60 per person. 

As always, please let me know if you have any questions or need additional support.


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