Feb. 4, 2021
Dear Superintendents and School Leaders,

I'm writing with updates on several COVID-19-related items that have come up since my last message.

Vaccination Reminder
The County of San Diego is currently vaccinating people who are 65 years old and up and healthcare personnel. They have asked us to remind school employees that unless they meet the current criteria (age or health personnel), school employees are currently not eligible to receive a vaccination and will be turned away when they arrive to any of the vaccination centers, which reduces the availability of time slots for eligible persons and therefore causes further delays. The county hopes to continue delivering vaccinations in a timely and safe way, and appreciates your support throughout the process.

The San Diego County Office of Education (SDCOE) is working closely with county public health to plan for school employee vaccinations. As soon as it’s our turn, educators will hear from SDCOE.

To learn more about the County of San Diego's vaccine phases, visit this website.

COVID-19 Safety Plan Posting Requirement
There's some confusion related to the governor’s funding proposal and the requirement within the current guidance for K-12 schools related to a Feb. 1 deadline for posting of COVID-19 Safety Plans (CSPs). Given that the funding proposal is still under deliberation, local educational agencies are currently only required to meet the Feb. 1 deadline as referenced in the schools guidance, which is as follows:
  • For schools that are currently “open” as defined in the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) guidance: Local educational agencies ONLY need to post their CSP by Feb. 1. They do not need to submit that plan to the local health department (LHD) or to the Safe Schools Team.
  • For schools that are not “open” as defined in CDPH guidance but are seeking to reopen elementary grades while in the Purple Tier and are under the 25/100,000 case rate: Local educational agencies need to post their CSP and concurrently submit it to their LHD and Safe Schools for All Team for review.
  • For schools that are not “open” as defined in CDPH guidance and have no current plans to reopen elementary grades while in the Purple Tier: Local educational agencies do not need to post the CSP at this time.

Clarification on Stable Groups
CDPH has provided some additional information on “stable groups” that is particularly relevant for middle and high schools:
  • The purpose of a stable group is to decrease opportunities for exposure to or transmission of the virus, reduce the numbers of exposed individuals if COVID-19 is introduced among students and staff, facilitate more efficient contact tracing in the event of a positive case, and allow for targeted testing and quarantine of a single group of students/staff instead of potential schoolwide closures in the event of a positive case or cluster of cases. 
  • For middle and high schools, the K-12 School Guidance provides several recommendations and examples to consider. Since there are multiple factors specific to each individual middle school and high school (e.g., numbers of students), CDPH is not requiring schools to choose from the recommendations provided. Instead, CDPH requires schools to follow the intent of why stable groups are important and develop the best stable group system with their students that will limit exposure to the greatest extent possible.

The County of San Diego has advised that schools must show rigor in considering stable groups, documenting it in their Schools Guidance Checklist, which must be completed and posted.

Spanish Decision Tree
The updated COVID-19 Symptom Decision Tree is now available in Spanish. Both the English and Spanish versions have been revised to include antigen testing.

Thank you for all you are doing during these unprecedented times. As always, please let me know if you have any questions or need support.


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