March 23, 2021
Dear Superintendents and School Leaders,

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

Public Health Guidance Format Changes
With its recent changes in guidance, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) is now displaying its consolidated school guidance document in a web version instead of a PDF, which is still available but labeled as out of date. The web version includes a summary of recent changes and hyperlinks to sections within the guidance. The CDPH’s related K-12 Schools Reopening Framework and Guidance Q&A on the consolidated guidance is also available but has not been updated since Feb. 16, so its answers on physical distancing, reopening in the purple tier, and the safety review process are currently out of date.

New Outbreak Requirements
State and county public health continue to have a role in partnering with schools on safe operations. Please note that Assembly Bill 86 added a provision to Education Code 32090(b) that “a single school site of a local educational agency with two or more outbreaks of COVID-19, as identified by the local health officer or the State Department of Public Health, shall be subject to a safety review by the State Department of Public Health.”

CDPH Youth Sports FAQ
CDPH's Youth Sports Q&A has been updated several times in the last week:
  • Updated March 22 to clarify that band, drumline, choir, and drama are low-contact activities and to announce that guidance on observers for youth and adult recreational sports is being developed
  • Updated March 19 to clarify that sideline cheer is allowed as a moderate-contact sport
  • Updated March 17 to clarify that flag football is considered a moderate-contact sport

Safety Review Process Is Being Retired
The state’s safety review request process is being retired, as it addressed specific elements of the guidance (physical distancing and reopening criteria for middle and high schools when the county is in the purple tier) that have been updated. Schools are permitted to reopen and/or conduct operations consistent with the requirements in the updated guidance and any applicable local health orders.

Medical Referral Form for Students Following COVID-19 Infection
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and American College of Cardiology recommend that students who have tested positive for COVID-19 in the last six months should be cleared by a medical professional prior to returning to any "exertive sports or related aerobic activities." Although not required by local or state health officials, we are making available this document, which includes a form and decision tree districts/schools may follow that determines actions based on the severity of symptoms the student experienced while positive. Additional guidance can be found on the AAP website.

Updated Parent Communications Materials
The San Diego County Office of Education (SDCOE) Communications team has updated several parent template letters in English and Spanish for your use. The school reopening, COVID-19 positive case, and sharing progress on reopening when a reopening date is still being determined or is delayed template letters have been modified, and the travel/gatherings template has been updated with recommendations around potential spring break travel. Templates based on CDPH guidance that address an increase in positive COVID-19 cases on campus have been added, one for when the school remains open and one for when the school shifts to distance learning. We have also added a letter with an update on standardized testing.

Tracking Attendance in a Non-Traditional Learning Environment
SDCOE is using a platform called CrowdLoop to solicit your ideas for how to track attendance in a non-traditional learning environment. Please use these instructions and this link to register for the site and share your suggestions. You may also share this link with staff members who might have ideas on this topic.

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