Feb. 17, 2021
Dear Superintendents and School Leaders,

I'm writing with updates on several COVID-19-related items that have arisen since my last message, as well as a non-COVID-19-related opportunity for your school community.

County Reaches Threshold for Reopening K-6 Campuses
Once the county’s adjusted case rate has been less than 25 per 100,000 population for five consecutive days, K-6 schools are permitted to resume in-person instruction provided:
  • They post their COVID-19 Safety Plan (CSP) to their school homepage
  • Submit their CSP to the local health department and the State Safe Schools for All Team
  • No deficiencies are identified by state or local public health

For the week ending Feb. 6, San Diego County’s adjusted case rate is 22.2, meaning the region is close to this important milestone. The County of San Diego has advised the county office of education team they hope to open the portal for schools to submit their CSPs by Friday.

Once the CSP is submitted, county public health and the State Safe Schools for All Team have seven business days to provide feedback to the local education agency (LEA) regarding deficiencies in the CSP. The school may reopen on the eighth business day after submitting the CSP if the local health department and/or State Safe Schools for All Team do not provide notification that the CSP is unsafe within seven business days of submission.

If the local health department and/or State Safe Schools for All Team identify any deficiencies during the review period, the LEA will receive feedback on what they need to improve in order to be able to reopen for in-person instruction. After the LEA responds to feedback and re-submits the plan, the entity that identified the deficiency will have seven business days to review revisions. The school may reopen on eighth business day after submitting the revisions if the local health department and the State Safe Schools for All Team do not provide additional feedback.

Vaccinations Remain Limited By Age, Sector
We’ve become aware of a rumor that San Diego County educators are now eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. This is not the case. The County of San Diego is currently vaccinating healthcare personnel and people who are 65 years old and older. Unless they meet the current criteria, school employees are currently not eligible to receive a vaccination and will be turned away when they arrive to any of the vaccination centers, which reduces the availability of time slots for eligible persons and therefore causes further delays. 

Consult with Public Health Before Beginning Asymptomatic Testing
SDCOE has been advised by the County of San Diego that several laboratories offering asymptomatic testing to schools do not have the proper clearances and/or are not using techniques approved by the FDA for this purpose. The county’s Public Health Services urges you to contact them for consultation if you have entered into or are considering an agreement for COVID testing. Please include the name of the company and a brief description of what they are offering.

State Releases Reopening FAQ
The state has released a questions and answers document on the K-12 Schools Reopening Framework and Guidance. Topics covered include definition of “open” and “reopened;” COVID-19 Safety Plans; safety standards; notification of positive cases, quarantine, and case reporting; close contact, outbreaks and school closure; testing; cohort and stable groups; and more.

CDC-California K-12 Schools Guidance Crosswalk
The California Department of Public Health has created a crosswalk that compares the CDC guidance released last Friday with California’s COVID-19 Public Health Guidance for K-12 Schools.

There is substantial overlap in the two sets of guidance, but they also have substantial differences. The central premise of the CDC’s guidance is that schools should adapt their mitigation posture to respond to changes in risk. When transmission rates are high, schools should reduce the number of students on campus and as the risks subside, increase the in-person learning for students. California’s guidance is static. It provides guidance on when to shift cohorts and schools to distance learning (for 14 days) in response to cases in the school(s) and districts.

Encuentros Leadership and Education Summit
Cuyamaca College and Encuentros Leadership will be hosting the Encuentros Leadership & Education Summit on March 6 from noon to 2 p.m. The free summit includes online workshops on college and career opportunities for students as well as sessions for parents in English and Spanish. Parents are also invited to a drive-through food and supply pick up on March 5 from 4 to 6 p.m. Get details and register.

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