Jan. 4, 2021
Dear Superintendents and School Leaders,

Happy new year! I'm writing with updates on several COVID-19-related items that have arisen since my last message.

School Employee-Only Testing Sites Paused
Effective today, the County of San Diego has paused all school employee-only COVID-19 testing sites until area school districts get closer to reopening for wider in-person instruction. 

School employees may be tested at any of the county’s public testing sites. School employees in rural areas may continue to be tested at rotating sites in the backcountry, in partnership with CAL FIRE.

Vaccination Information
The San Diego County Office of Education (SDCOE) team is in contact with the County of San Diego to understand their plans for offering COVID-19 vaccinations to school employees. We will share additional information when we have it. In the meantime, you may want to familiarize yourself with the vaccination information the county has posted on its website.

Guidance on Quarantine and Isolation Updated
On Dec. 24, 2020, San Diego County Public Health Officer Dr. Wilma Wooten issued revised health orders covering quarantine and isolation of all persons with or likely to have COVID-19. Highlights include:
  • When leaving quarantine after 10 days, the person must monitor themselves for symptoms and strictly maintain all non-pharmaceutical interventions for four more days.
  • If interventions (physical distancing at 6 feet, use of face covers, enhanced ventilation, enhanced cleaning/sanitation, proper handwashing and respiratory etiquette) cannot be maintained in their workplace, a person returning from quarantine should not return to work until 14 days have passed.
  • In addition, those who are immunosuppressed or who live with someone who is immunosuppressed, and those school persons who work with students who are immunosuppressed must also do 14 days, not 10.
  • A shorter quarantine period of seven days is also included in the order, but it isn’t available for school employees. This provision is limited to health care workers, emergency response workers, “social service workers who work face to face with clients in the child welfare or long term care setting,” “during critical staffing shortages,” and if the person returning from quarantine has received a negative PCR test result from a test administered on or after Day 5 and they do not develop symptoms.

SDCOE will update our decision guide and decision tree documents to reflect these changes and share links when the revised materials are available.

Additional Clarification on Notification Requirements for AB 685
We wanted to provide additional clarification on some of the notification requirements for AB 685, which became law Jan. 1. The law requires an employer to provide written notice within one business day to all employees who were at the same worksite as an employee who has tested positive, been ordered to isolate due to exposure, or has died from COVID-19 during the infectious period. Employers are also required to contact these employees with information on COVID-19-related leave and relevant civil rights protections, and notify them of the disinfection and safety plans the employer plans to complete. In this law, worksite is defined as only the "location where a worker worked during the infectious period." In a multi-worksite environment, such as a school or district campus, the employer need only notify employees who were in the same worksite (such as a classroom or building) as the qualified individual and not the entire school or campus. The following template letters in both English and Spanish are available to assist you. 


Please keep in mind there are additional important requirements outlined in AB 685 that employers must consider. We recommend you review them with your legal team.  

Contagion and Immunity After COVID-19 Disease or Immunization
Often people are confused as to how long they are potentially contagious to others after contracting COVID-19, and whether they should be retested to demonstrate they are no longer contagious. This memo from SDCOE’s consulting physician reflects the current best science as published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Updated Youth Sports Guidance Released
In case you missed it, the California Department of Public Health has released updated youth sports guidance.

Meeting the Need: Providing Menstrual Products to Students During School Closures
Education Code 35292.6 states that public schools containing grades 6-12 that meet a 40% pupil poverty threshold are required to stock 50% of their restrooms with menstrual products. 

Schools are currently closed during the COVID-19 pandemic, but the need for these products still exists. The County of San Diego has created a toolkit that includes tools for soliciting donations and best practices for distributing menstrual products in schools and communities.

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

Sincerely,
Paul

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