Sept. 1, 2021
Dear Superintendents and School Leaders,

This evening, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) released updated COVID-19 Public Health Guidance for K-12 Schools in California, 2021-22 School Year. The guidance provides recommendations and requirements for school-based extracurricular activities and further clarifies modified quarantine recommendations.

The guidance for school-based extracurricular activities is as follows:

The requirements and recommendations in this guidance also apply to all extracurricular activities that are operated or supervised by schools, and all activities that occur on a school site, whether or not they occur during school hours, including, but not limited to, sports, band, chorus, and clubs. Masks are required for all persons while playing all indoor sports, unless wearing a mask during play has been determined to pose a choking hazard by a well-recognized health authority, such as the American Academy of Pediatrics.

For (1) the playing of musical instruments that cannot be done with a face covering (e.g., wind instruments); or (2) when wearing a mask during play poses a choking hazard, at least one of the following options is required:

a. Conduct these activities outdoors;

b. Use modified face coverings and bell coverings when playing wind and brass instruments, and maintain 6 feet of physical distancing;

c. Perform at least weekly screening testing with either PCR testing (1:1 or pooled PCR) or antigen testing of all individuals, including those who are fully vaccinated.

[For those that select option c,] Schools must be in compliance with the required weekly testing no later than Sept. 27, 2021.

In the updated guidance, CDPH also refined quarantine recommendations for:
  • Vaccinated close contacts (Section 7 of the guidance)
  • Unvaccinated students for exposures when both parties were wearing a mask, as required in K-12 indoor settings (Section 8)
  • Unvaccinated close contacts (Section 9, which describes standard quarantine and modified quarantine).
  • Per the updated guidance, for unvaccinated students exposed when both parties were wearing a mask, modified "quarantine can end after Day 7 if a diagnostic specimen is collected after Day 5 from the date of last exposure and tests negative." Testing was required twice a week for 10 days. It can now be concluded with a negative test on Day 6, and students in modified quarantine can return to before- and after-school activities on Day 8 instead of 11.

Finally, CDPH updated the K-12 Schools Guidance 2021-2022 Questions & Answers to include the following questions and answers:

What should be the timing for twice weekly testing of students undergoing a modified quarantine? When can students on modified quarantine resume all activities?
In general, it is recommended to test immediately after being exposed to someone with COVID-19. Subsequent testing should occur at least three days apart. As per Item 9 in the K-12 Guidance, quarantine can end after Day 7 if a diagnostic specimen is collected after Day 5 from the date of last exposure and tests negative.

Does the K-12 Guidance on School-Based Extracurricular Activities apply to non-school activities?  
For sports and recreation activities that are not operated or supervised by schools, or do not occur on a school site, the following continue to apply:

The San Diego County Office of Education team is analyzing the new guidance. We will share an updated COVID-19 Symptom Decision Tree as soon as possible.

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


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