Dear Superintendents and School Leaders,
The California Department of Public Health issued instructions today for schools or districts to submit a Safety Review Request
. The process allows local education agencies (LEAs) to seek an exemption to operate outside of the state’s guidance in one of the following two circumstances:
1. LEAs that were open and providing in-person instruction as of Jan. 14, where it has been determined that, after making good-faith efforts pursuant to the K-12 Schools Guidance
to meet the minimum student-to-student physical distancing guidelines in the guidance, that meeting that minimum would require students being served through in-person instruction on Jan. 14 to be served solely through distance learning. LEAs submitting a review request for this reason must submit a letter of intent no later than Feb. 17.
- Essentially: Schools that were open and providing in-person instruction on Jan. 14 and are unable to implement the new minimum requirement on physical distancing without forcing students to be served solely through distance learning can seek an exception to the guidance if they initiate the safety review process by Feb. 17.
2. LEAs that, when the Jan. 14 K-12 Schools Guidance was issued, were in the active process of bringing back additional students for in-person instruction as part of a phased-in reopening process consistent with being considered “open” under the July 17 schools guidance
, but never offered all students in at least one grade the option to return for in-person instruction for at least part of the school week while the county was in the Red Tier or lower, and therefore do not meet the revised definition of “open” set forth in the K-12 Schools Guidance issued on Jan. 14.
- Essentially: Schools that have not met the new criteria for reopening, but believe that they were “open” based on prior guidance issued by the state, may seek permission to reopen if they were actively in the process of bringing back additional students for in-person instruction as a part of a phased reopening plan.
Instructions and timelines associated with this process can be viewed here
. As always, please let me know if you have any questions or need support.
Dr. Paul Gothold
San Diego County Superintendent of Schools