Aug. 17, 2021
Dear Superintendents,

I am writing with several updates since my last message.

Updated Vaccine Verification and Testing Requirement FAQ
The San Diego County Office of Education (SDCOE) has updated our frequently asked questions webpage about vaccine verification and testing requirements for workers in schools. The FAQ now include the following answers, which were provided by the California Department of Public Health and SDCOE Legal Services team:

Are employers required to keep a record of who has been referred for testing?
According to the state’s Safe Schools for All Technical Assistance Team, evidence of the employee’s negative test result must be collected by the school. The following are acceptable as proof of a negative COVID-19 test result:
  • A printed document from the test provider or laboratory, OR 
  • An electronic test result displayed on a phone or other device from the test provider or laboratory

The person's name, type of test performed, and negative test result should be included on the printed document or electronic test result provided by the employee.

As with any employee medical record, this information should be kept confidential and apart from the employee's personnel file per the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Can a school restrict volunteer opportunities on campus to fully vaccinated parents and community members?
Yes. Per guidance found in the California Department of Public Health’s COVID-19 Public Health Guidance for K-12 schools in California, 2021-2022 School Year, schools should limit non-essential visitors, volunteers, and activities involving external groups or organizations who are not fully vaccinated, particularly in areas where there is moderate-to-high COVID-19 community transmission.

Must local educational agencies allow unvaccinated or incompletely vaccinated employees release time to get tested?
By requiring an employee to get a COVID-19 test in accordance with the state order, then yes, local educational agencies must allow employees release time to get tested. Release time for testing also includes the time associated with traveling and waiting for the test to be performed.

Can workers be tested through their health care provider? If so, are local educational agencies required to provide reimbursement?
Yes. A local educational agency may designate certain locations for employees to obtain testing, including their health care provider. Employers should identify locations for employees to obtain their COVID-19 test to mitigate any potential issues concerning cost.

We will continue to share updates as the state responds to other questions submitted by SDCOE.

Spanish-Language COVID-19 Decision Tree Now Available
A Spanish-language version of the COVID-19 Decision Tree has been added to the Health Practices section of SDCOE’s COVID-19 website.

Executive Order Increases Staffing Flexibility for Schools 
Gov. Newsom issued an executive order yesterday allowing recently retired teachers to return to service immediately for "short-term staffing shortages." The order waives various timeline requirements that usually prohibit credentialed retirees from re-entering classrooms for six months.

Thank you for all that you do. As always, please reach out if you have any questions.

Sincerely,
Paul

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