June 7, 2021
Dear Superintendents and School Leaders,

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has updated the language regarding face coverings in the COVID-19 and Reopening In-Person Instruction Framework & Public Health Guidance for K-12 Schools in California, 2020-2021 School Year and the associated K-12 Schools Reopening Framework and Guidance Q&A.

It appears the primary update to the guidance is that students were required to wear masks at school “at all times.” That phrase has been eliminated from the framework, which now reads:
  • Students in grades K-12 are required to wear face coverings in accordance with the CDPH Guidance for the Use of Face Coverings while at school, unless exempted.
  • A cloth face covering or face shield should be removed for meals, snacks, naptime, or when it needs to be replaced. When a cloth face covering is temporarily removed, it should be placed in a clean, safe area, clearly marked with the student’s name and date, until it needs to be put on again. 

In referring to the guidance on face covers, the following would now be true for students:
  • A fully vaccinated student would not be required (by the state) to wear a face covering outdoors except when attending crowded outdoor events. The school could still require this as a school rule.
  • Unvaccinated students are required to wear face coverings outdoors any time physical distancing cannot be maintained.
  • The examples provided of crowded settings and when physical distancing cannot be maintained include live performances, parades, fairs, festivals, sports events, or other similar settings. 

School leaders will need to decide if they will treat fully vaccinated students differently than unvaccinated or partially vaccinated students for what’s left of this school year. They would need to determine if their passing, recess, lunch, and entry and dismissal periods are crowded settings.

Because Cal/OSHA’s revised emergency temporary standards are not fully approved, and if approved, they won't go into effect until June 15, there are no changes for employees at this time.

Additional Updates to Schools Guidance Expected
CDPH is still expected to release guidance for the 2021-22 school year. According to the County of San Diego, updates to state guidance for K-12 education, institutions of higher education, and child care settings will be released prior to June 15. 

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