Sept. 11, 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.

COVID-19 Testing Survey Reminder
If you haven't yet, please take our reopening and testing plan survey. The result of this survey will help the San Diego County Office of Education (SDCOE) determine where to locate sites to test school employees for COVID-19, and how to prioritize access to those sites.

Case Rate by ZIP Code
Starting next week, SDCOE will begin publishing a report showing a seven-day case rate for each ZIP code in the county. 

SDCOE’s report is distinct from county public health’s ZIP code report, which is cumulative and therefore does not provide current rates within each zip code.

The new report will allow school leaders to better understand how conditions in their areas compare to other parts of the county and the county as a whole. This data can be used to engage stakeholders in conversations that are grounded in a common understanding and to inform decisions on reopening. 

SDCOE's report will include the following for each ZIP code:
  • Population estimate (from information provided by SANDAG)
  • Total number of new cases over seven days (using a seven-day lag)
  • Average number of new cases per day per 100,000 people

We will share a link to the new report next week.

Blueprint for a Safer Economy and School Reopening
The California Department of Public Health created a frequently asked questions (FAQ) document on the Blueprint for a Safer Economy, the criteria announced two weeks ago for loosening and tightening restrictions on activities.

The FAQ reiterates that “as stated in the July 17th School Re-opening Framework, schools are not required to close if a county moves back to Purple Tier 1, but should consider surveillance testing of staff.”

Updated Decision Guide Materials
With the guidance on COVID-19 constantly evolving, SDCOE is constantly updating the materials we create to support you in running your schools. Please note the following have been updated:

These materials have been updated to reflect the following (change indicated in italics):
  • If a person has tested positive for COVID-19 and has not developed symptoms, they may return 10 days after the date on which they first tested positive.
  • A person can be presumed to be positive for COVID-19 by a licensed doctor, nurse practitioner, or physician’s assistant or public health officials

Mandated Reporting Letter
In times of crisis and economic instability, risk factors for child abuse and neglect increase. However, reports of child abuse and neglect in San Diego County have declined dramatically as schools have closed in an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The ability to speak up for kids’ safety is crucial at this time.

Please share this joint letter from me and and District Attorney Summer Stephan with your employees to remind them of their responsibility to report abuse.

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.

Sincerely,
Paul

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