July 20, 2021
Dear Superintendents,

I am writing to provide updates on several items we've discussed over the last few days.

Assembly Bill 104 Template Form Available
The California Department of Education (CDE) on Friday released its template form for local educational agencies (LEA) to share with families to let them know about the option to request pass/no pass grades, as laid out in Assembly Bill 104. LEAs have 15 calendar days from the day the CDE posted the form to share it on their websites and in a written message to parents. To support this effort, SDCOE has created a template letter than you can use to let families know about the option. 

Responses to Question-and-Answer Session with the County of San Diego
We have compiled a list of responses from the question and answer session held Monday with the County of San Diego to discuss the California Department of Public Health’s (CDPH) face covering requirements for K-12 schools. The responses have been reviewed and verified by county public health officials.

Summary of CDPH Guidance on Face Coverings and Parent Template Letter
In shaping its COVID-19 Public Health Guidance for K-12 Schools in California, 2021-22 School Year the CDPH says its primary goal is returning all willing students to full-time in-person instruction and keeping them in school as much as possible. The two most restrictive prevention measures included in last year’s guidance are no longer required: physical distancing and cohort scheduling. New options have also been added to reduce, and in some cases eliminate, days away from in-person instruction due to quarantine.
With the elimination of the most restrictive prevention strategies from the guidance, California is relying on a robust testing program and the mandatory use of face coverings in indoor spaces to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and its highly contagious variants on school campuses.

The State of California has issued the following requirements:
  • All K-12 students are required to mask indoors. 
  • Adults in K-12 school settings are required to mask when sharing indoor spaces with students.
  • Masks are optional outdoors for all in K-12 school settings. 
  • Consistent with guidance from the 2020-21 school year, schools must develop and implement local protocols to enforce the mask requirements. 

The guidance does not give districts or schools the discretion to make face coverings optional, or to create their own standard for enforcement. Schools are required to enforce the mandate using local policies and protocols to bring about compliance. Based on information received from CDPH, students who refuse to wear masks indoors may not participate in in-person instruction indoors.

County health officials have confirmed that all school districts must comply with the guidance for schools as required by the State Public Health Officer Order of June 11, 2021, which derives its authority from Health and Safety Codes 120125, 120140, 120175,120195 and 131080 and other applicable laws. In addition, the San Diego County public health order states: “Pursuant to Health and Safety Code section 120175.5 (b), all governmental entities in the county shall continue to take necessary measures within the governmental entity’s control to ensure compliance with State and local laws, regulations, and orders related to the control of COVID-19.”

SDCOE has created a template letter that summarizes this guidance and can be used to communicate with families.

Changes to Quarantine Guidance for Masked Students
The new CDPH K-12 guidance also makes changes to quarantine protocols in the event an unvaccinated student has been exposed to COVID-19 while both parties were wearing masks, allowing for the exposed student to continue attending in-person instruction if they are asymptomatic, keep wearing a mask, undergo testing twice weekly during the 10-day quarantine, and continue to quarantine for all extracurricular activities at school, including sports and activities within the community setting. While the current county public health order on quarantine does not allow this option, we anticipate the county will be updating the order in the next few days to reflect this new guidance. 

The capacity to conduct rapid testing onsite is essential to keeping kids in school. The free testing program is available through the County of San Diego. Email covid-education@sdcounty.ca.gov to learn more.

Template Resolution to Rescind COVID-19 Resolutions 
With many of the COVID-19 restrictions and safety protocols now lifted as of June 15, an “emergency,” as defined by Public Contracts Code 1102, no longer exists. Furthermore, the emergency authority granted to school boards and the county superintendent of schools under Public Contract Code 20113 is strictly limited to when an emergency exists. Therefore, SDCOE’s Legal Services team has prepared a sample resolution for your governing boards to use in order to rescind/terminate the emergency resolution if one was passed by your board last year and to ensure your district is in compliance with the law. They have also prepared a short list of frequently asked questions relating to rescinding the emergency order. 

Summary of Governor’s Executive Orders with Expiration Dates
After Gov. Newsom declared a state of emergency in March 2020, a large number of provisions and executive orders were set into motion. On June 11, the governor issued Executive Order N-08-21, which set forth a timeline of expiration for the vast majority of previously issued executive orders related to the pandemic. To assist you in quickly identifying these changes, SDCOE has created a summary of orders by department topic with current expiration dates.

Template Board Policy to Fulfill AB 130 Independent Study Requirements – Coming Soon
The Independent Study portion of Assembly Bill 130 requires that, in order to receive apportionment for students participating in independent study, LEAs must have adopted board policies that include procedures for tiered re-engagement strategies for specified students, a transition plan for students wishing to return to in-person instruction, and daily live and synchronous instruction requirements. CSBA is currently drafting a template board policy for districts to utilize, and we will share it as soon as it’s available.

Thank you for all that you do. As always, please reach out if you have any questions.

Sincerely,
Paul

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