March 12, 2020
Dear Superintendents,

We are working to schedule an all-call with you today to update you with the latest on COVID-19 and to give you a chance to ask local public health leadership any questions you may have. Please be on the lookout for an email with date, time, and dial-in information.

With school closures in COVID-19-impacted regions of the country and a move to online classes by local colleges and universities, we know you are getting questions from parents about why K-12 public schools remain open at this time. 

I fully realize many of us are being pressured to close down schools. At this point, we still don’t have any information from the health department that public safety has been compromised. The guidance from local public health, and from the California Department of Public Health and California Department Education, continues to be that closing schools is premature.

I know you are also getting questions about events and field trips that may be planned. Late last night, California public health officials released new guidance that includes: 

  • Large gatherings that include 250 people or more should be postponed or canceled. This includes gatherings such as concerts, conferences, and professional, college, and school sporting events. 
  • Smaller gatherings held in venues that do not allow social distancing of 6 feet per person should be postponed or canceled. This includes gatherings in crowded auditoriums, rooms, or other venues. 
  • Gatherings of individuals who are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19 should be limited to no more than 10 people. This includes gatherings such as those at retirement facilities, assisted living facilities, developmental homes, and support groups for people with health conditions. 
  • A “gathering” is any event or convening that brings together people in a single room or single space at the same time, such as an auditorium, stadium, arena, large conference room, meeting hall, cafeteria, or any other indoor or outdoor space.

We have added a link to the guidance to our COVID-19 webpage, www.sdcoe.net/coronavirus.

We are working on a new template letter in English and Spanish to support you in communicating with your school community about why schools will remain open, albeit with gatherings postponed or reduced. Look for that later today.

This is a fluid situation that continues to evolve. We will share additional information as it becomes available. Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you need additional assistance in the meantime.

Sincerely,
Paul

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