June 3, 2021
Dear Superintendents and School Leaders,

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

Schools Guidance Updates Expected
According to the County of San Diego, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has indicated it will update guidance for K-12 education, institutions of higher education, and child care settings prior to June 15. While we do not know what the guidance for schools will specify, CDPH has indicated that updated guidance for general public settings – which is also expected before June 15 – is likely to align with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s guidance for fully vaccinated people. In summary, the CDC recommends:

  • If you are fully vaccinated, you can resume activities that you did prior to the pandemic.
  • Fully vaccinated people can resume activities without wearing a mask or physically distancing, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance.

As a reminder, employers are governed by Cal/OSHA’s COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS). The Cal/OSHA board is expected to vote on their proposed re-adoption of the ETS found here. If the proposed standards are approved as they are currently stated, the following policies on face coverings in the workplace would go into effect:
  • Indoors: Effective June 15, employers must ensure employees wear face coverings indoors unless:
  • Everyone in the room/space is fully vaccinated and asymptomatic
  • The employee cannot wear a face covering or alternative (e.g., drape) due to disability
  • If the employee cannot wear any type of face covering, they must maintain at least 6 feet of distance from others unless they are fully vaccinated or receive weekly testing at employer’s expense.
  • The employee is performing a task that cannot be performed with a face covering
  • If the employee is not vaccinated, they must maintain 6 feet of distance from others or receive weekly testing at employer’s expense.
  • Employees are eating/drinking and at least 6 feet from each other in a room with maximized outdoor ventilation
  • Outdoors (not mega event): Employees must wear face covering if less than 6 feet from other persons unless they are fully vaccinated and asymptomatic
  • Outdoor mega events (10k+ attendees): Effective June 15, employers must ensure employees wear face coverings at outdoor mega events unless:
  • The employee can maintain 6 feet of distance
  • The employee is fully vaccinated and asymptomatic
  • Until July 31, if there is an outbreak, the employer must provide all non-vaccinated employees working indoors or at outdoor mega events with respirators for voluntary use.
  • Effective July 31, employers must provide respirators to all employees working indoors or at outdoor mega events to employees who are not fully vaccinated (regardless of an outbreak).

In-Person Board Meetings
We have received questions about local educational agencies continuing to hold virtual board meetings beyond June 15. Until Executive Order N-29-20 expires, legislative bodies may continue to hold their meetings 100% remote if they so choose. At this time, our understanding is that as of June 15 the state is loosening requirements to reopen the economy, such as revising social distancing and mask guidance, rather than lifting the state of emergency entirely.

School Ventilation: A Vital Tool to Reduce COVID-19 Spread
During the COVID-19 pandemic, it is even more important that ventilation problems in K-12 schools be addressed. Along with other mitigation measures, improvements in ventilation in K-12 schools can decrease the risk of SARS-CoV-2 spread. School Ventilation: A Vital Tool to Reduce COVID-19 Spread from the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security summarizes current ventilation guidelines and posits that improvements to ventilation are a good use of the COVID-19 relief funds provided to K-12 schools.

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.

Sincerely,
Paul

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