July 20, 2020
Dear Superintendents and School Leaders,

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

Waivers for in-Person Reopening
The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) framework for reopening in-person learning in K-12 schools in the 2020-21 school year includes a footnote that a waiver of in-person reopening criteria “may be granted by the local health officer for elementary schools to open for in-person instruction. A waiver may only be granted if one is requested by the superintendent (or equivalent for charter or private schools), in consultation with labor, parent, and community organizations. Local health officers must review local community epidemiological data, consider other public health interventions, and consult with CDPH when considering a waiver request.”

We have received inquiries wondering if a template is available for superintendents or equivalents to request a waiver. The process for requesting a waiver must still be worked out locally, but when it is available, the chief executive for your school would be able to submit the request. We expect that the County of San Diego will share updates on this process during their weekly telebriefing tomorrow at 10 a.m.

Operating Extended School Year or Other in-Person Instructional Programs
We have also received inquiries about using the child care or day camp provisions to offer in-person programs. We are awaiting clarity from local public health on this issue, as well.

Opening School Offices for Business Operations
Schools remain an essential business/activity, and school employees are classified as essential workers. As such, school offices are permitted to be open provided they abide by the local public health order. Please note we anticipate the public health order may be updated to reflect the new state guidance.

Updated Guidance on Face Coverings
Gov. Gavin Newsom’s July 17 order included encouraging face coverings for students in grades K-2 and requiring face coverings for students in grades 3-12 and staff. As a result, SDCOE’s general counsel has updated our memo on face coverings. View it here.

Template Board Policy on Reopening
To support school districts in reopening, SDCOE has created a template board policy on Safe Reopening and Operation of Schools. The policy recognizes that the safe reopening and operation of schools must take into consideration health and safety measures provided by national, state, and local health officials, and will be largely dependent on local public health conditions. It also clarifies that for schools to safely reopen and allow students, teachers, and staff on school sites, protective measures must be taken.

Thank you for all you are doing during these unprecedented times. Please don't hesitate to get in touch if I can be of assistance.


Dr. Paul Gothold
San Diego County Superintendent of Schools
phone: 858-292-3514