Feb. 23, 2021
Dear Superintendents and School Leaders,

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has made changes to the K-12 Schools Reopening Framework, the related FAQ, and schools section of the Blueprint for a Safer Economy. The edits clarify the eligibility window for school reopening.  

Consolidated Schools Guidance is replaced/updated
Schools FAQ is updated with the three new questions under "Definition of Open & Reopened"
Blueprint for a Safer Economy has been updated with a new blurb under “Schools”

Reopening Timeline Adjusted
CDPH has revised its guidance on reopening to include a three-week window for reopening once the county re-enters the Red Tier. The goal of the three-week window is to facilitate calm and safe school re-openings.

  • Tier assignments are made each Tuesday. The first day a county is considered in the Red Tier is the Wednesday following the tier assignments.
  • Following entry into the Red Tier, the window for reopening will remain open for at least 21 days, even if the county re-enters the Purple Tier during that window.

If San Diego County is assigned to the Red Tier on Tuesday, March 9, which is possible if current trends hold, the county’s first full day in the Red Tier will be Wednesday, March 10. Under the new guidance, schools would subsequently be eligible to reopen for in-person instruction during a window of March 10-30, even if the county renters the Purple Tier while the window is open.

If the county remains in the Red Tier after March 30, reopening will be tied to the county’s tier status on the day the school plans to reopen.

The following is a summary of additional updates to each document.

K-12 School Guidance
  • Provided clarifying information on the eligibility window for school reopening, as described above.
  • Took out case rate <7 for 7th -12th and just says "if in this tier" under the School Reopening Table (Table 1)
  • Provided an updated hyperlink to the CDC symptoms webpage
  • Under the “What to do if there is a Confirmed or Suspected Case of COVID-19 in a School” table, under scenario #4, added “or at least 10 days have passed since symptom onset.”
  • Took out case rates under the Testing Cadence table   
  • Added “for at least 20 seconds” to sample notification for School Closure due to COVID-19 Notification.    

Guidance Checklist
  • Removed "for 5 consecutive days"
  • Changed "Local Health Officer Approval" to "Date of Submission to Local Health Department" 
  • Took out language having local health officer/local health jurisdiction certify on X date and language taken out regarding seven days to review and approve. 
  • Added note: "Local education agencies intending to reopen K-6 schools while in the Purple Tier are to submit the COVID-19 Safety Plan to the local health department and the State Safe Schools for All Team concurrently."

School Guidance FAQ
Provided three new clarifications for the following under “School open/reopened”:
  • What is considered the first day a county has had an adjusted case rate of less than 25/100,000 population?
  • What is the eligibility window for school re-opening once a county has met the criteria of being in the Red Tier or with a case rate of less than 25?
  • How do I find my county tier status and the posted adjusted case rate for my county on the Blueprint website?

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