March 9, 2021
Dear Superintendents and School Leaders,

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

Preparing for the Red Tier
Under the current tier threshold, the county needs two consecutive weeks with case rates at or below 7/100,000 to move from the purple to the less restrictive red tier, which makes the adjusted case rate of 8.8 that was announced today disappointing. While no one can predict the future, there are still strong reasons to hope that the county will enter the red tier on March 16.

The state recently revealed Vaccine Equity Metric goals that, when achieved, will reset the thresholds. When 2 million doses have been administered statewide in communities included in Quartile 4 of the Healthy Places Index, the threshold for the purple tier will be set at 10 or less per 100,000. So far, 1.8 million doses have been administered in those communities and the county predicts the state will achieve this goal within the next few days. If that happens, the 8.8 we posted this week and anything less than 10/100,000 on March 16 would put us in the red tier that day.

Once in the red tier, schools that have not reopened for in-person instruction will have the benefit of a 21-day window for reopening, even if the county re-enters the purple tier during that time period. If the county enters the red tier on March 16, the reopening window would extend from March 17 to April 6. Reopening after that date would be contingent on the county’s tier placement at that time.

Several school leaders have asked if the 21-day reopening window can be extended if their schools’ scheduled spring recess would prevent them from reopening during the window. The California Department of Public Health has indicated that they are willing to work with school leaders who find themselves in this situation. Contact the Safe Schools for All team for assistance if you believe this will be a factor in your reopening plans.

Vaccination Update
California Schools Voluntary Employees Benefits Association (VEBA) vaccinated nearly 20,000 TK-12 school employees during the first week of vaccination availability for educators. They have opened additional vaccination sites and currently have availability through Friday, especially for employees who are willing to go during the day. VEBA will be loading appointments for this weekend tomorrow or Thursday morning.

If you have not submitted an employee roster for your school, please do. As a reminder, leaders should complete this spreadsheet and submit it to Once that information is loaded into VEBA's system and eligibility is opened to your employees, they will receive an email from with details on how to log in to a secure VEBA portal to make appointments.

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