Sept. 17, 2020
Dear Superintendents and School Leaders,

You have undoubtedly heard the news that the County of San Diego may be moved on Tuesday to the lowest (purple) tier of the state reopening system.

As I have shared in the past, the County of San Diego’s position has been that schools will still be allowed to reopen even if the county falls to the purple tier. They confirmed that to San Diego County Office of Education (SDCOE) staff as recently as 4 p.m. today.

After repeated inquiries over the course of weeks, we learned this evening that the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has weighed in, issuing a statement that, “If a school did not open while the county was in the red tier, and the county subsequently moves to the purple tier, that school will not be able to open for in person instruction, until the county has returned to the red tier and been in the red tier for two weeks.” If the county is placed in the purple tier Tuesday, Sept. 21, the county will remain in that tier until at least Oct. 27. 

Representatives for the county have shared that they are attempting to resolve the issue with CDPH. In the meantime, The San Diego Union-Tribune has published a story about schools losing their chance to reopen if the county falls to the lowest tier.

The SDCOE team has prepared a template letter that explains the situation and offers language for schools that have and have not reopened. We will update this link tomorrow with a version that includes a Spanish translation.

We understand that this change represents a big departure and could punish schools and families that have been taking time to plan carefully for safe reopening. SDCOE will continue to press the county for clarification and share updates as additional information is available.


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