Return Health

Return to Health
Reopening Schools: Layers of Safety


Evidence from around the world shows that schools can safely remain open utilizing layered mitigation measures of safety.  School supports our students’ academic progress and addresses educational inequities exacerbated by the pandemic and access to distance learning.  As the CDC advises, the most important actions for districts and school administrators to take keeping schools open is planning and preparing. 

The following Return to Health Plan serves as the SCUSD COVID-19 Safety Plan (CSP) for in-person instruction and meets the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) COVID- 19 Prevention Program (CPP) and the COVID-19 School Guidance Checklist requirements. The SCUSD Return to Health plan provides our operational strategy to support K-12 schools providing in-person services, support and instruction, and remaining open through an integrated package of mitigation measures.

In accordance with updated guidance from the California Department of Public Health, SCUSD is not currently requiring a vaccination or testing mandate for students and staff. Testing reminds widely and readily available to those who need it. At this time, masks are strongly recommended but not required on campus. We are in regular communication with state and local health leaders and will adjust those requirements as needed.

As newly evolving variants continue to prolong the pandemic and impact our community, we remain committed to doing all we can to support the health, safety and well-being of our schools and surrounding communities.

Public Health Recommendations

This  plan was developed using recommendations from Sacramento County Public Health (SCPH), California Department of Public Health (CDPH), and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to meet the unique needs of our school community.  SCUSD will remain flexible in responding to changing public health conditions and will continue to revise our Return to Health plans in accordance with the most current orders or guidance provided by the CDPH.

Per the California state public health order updated June 8, 2022:

All individuals must continue to follow the requirements in the current COVID-19 Public Health Guidance for K-12 Schools in California and the current COVID-19 Public Health Guidance for Child Care Programs and Providers.  I [CDPH] will continue to monitor the scientific evidence and epidemiological data and will amend this guidance as needed by the evolving public health conditions and recommendations issued by the CDC and other public health authorities.

What You Can Do to Protect Yourself and Your Community

  • Get vaccinated as soon as you are eligible – encourage all household members to get vaccinated when eligible including any recommended booster doses.  Vaccination slows the spread of COVID in communities and protects those not yet eligible for vaccine.
  • Stay home if you are experiencing any symptoms and test for COVID-19.  Follow Appendix B: Illness and Symptoms Guidelines for Staff and Students for guidance on returning to school after symptoms.
  • Register for COVID-19 testing and get tested regularly – this helps detect when COVID-19 is spreading in our communities and enables us to take steps to stop the spread.
  • If you have tested positive for COVID-19 or if a close contact has tested positive, stay home and immediately notify your school site or supervisor so we can respond appropriately.
  • Wear your face masks appropriately, covering your nose and mouth, indoors when at school spaces or during school activities when required or strongly recommended. 

Layers of Safety Health Precautions


As we discuss mitigation measures, it is important for our community to know how COVID-19 is spread and controlled. COVID-19 is mostly spread by respiratory droplets released into the air when people talk, sing, laugh, cough, or sneeze.  Over the course of the pandemic various mitigation measures have been adopted to prevent the transmission of COVID-19. The Swiss Cheese Respiratory Pandemic Defense recognizes that no single intervention is perfect at preventing the spread of the coronavirus.  

Vaccination is the most effective strategy we have, however each strategy (face masks, distancing, testing, etc.) decreases the risk of in-school transmission.  While  no one layer is 100% effective, a combination of layers is proven effective and has been shown to decrease transmissions.   

1. COVID-19 Vaccine

CDPH strongly recommends that all persons eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine receive them at the first opportunity. COVID-19 vaccines authorized by the FDA have been shown to be safe and effective. Current vaccines are approved for individuals 6 months and older. Vaccines help our immune system fight infections in the future. COVID-19 vaccines protect us from the virus that causes COVID-19 without having to get the illness.

SCUSD, operates Immunization Clinics through the Vaccine for Children (VFC) program and is able to provide COVID-19 vaccine.  SCUSD is committed to working closely with SCPH to provide access to COVID-19 vaccine to all educators, education support staff and students.  SCUSD continues to host a series of vaccination clinics with health partners to do our part in stopping the spread of COVID in our community.

For more information about how to register for a clinic, visit

SCUSD continues to promote the vaccine. View the media toolkit.

2. Face Masks

Use of Face Masks 

Wearing a face mask prevents a person from spreading respiratory droplets while talking, singing, breathing, or coughing. They are meant to protect both the wearer and other people.  Face masks are one of the best tools we have to slow the spread of COVID-19.    Whether masks are required or strongly recommended, face masks are widely available at school sites and district spaces.

Face Masks Protect our Community from the Spread of COVID-19

  • When face masks are required, all SCUSD staff, students in all grades, parents/guardians, community partners and visitors – including fully vaccinated individuals -  must wear a face mask at all times in all settings indoors including on the bus, unless they meet a CDPH approved exemption.

  • When face mask requirements are lifted, face masking is strongly recommended. 

  • Masking is required at SCUSD Immunization or COVID vaccine clinics and COVID Testing Centers.

  • Individuals that become symptomatic at school must wear a face mask until they can leave the school site.  

  • Care Room staff must wear face masks when testing or caring for sick students.

  • Individuals who return to school after having Covid symptoms are strongly recommended to wear a face mask through day 10.

  • Individuals that return from isolation early on day 6 are strongly recommended to wear a face mask through day 10.

  • Individuals who have been exposed to someone with Covid-19 are strongly recommended to wear a face mask for 10 days after last exposure.

  • Individuals are recommended to wear a well-fitting face mask of their choosing that meets CDPH recommendations

  • SCUSD will provide face masks at no cost to all individuals who need them.

  • See the CDC Guide to Masks for further information.

Face Mask Breaks

When masks are required, some students may need limited face mask breaks throughout the day.  Signs students may display include fidgeting with the front of the face mask or removing it. 

Face Shields

  • Face shields with a cloth drape can be used for those who are unable to wear face masks for medical, pedagogical or developmental reasons, and should be worn using guidance from CDE and Cal/OSHA.
  • Staff must return to wearing a mask when a face shield is no longer needed.

Face Mask Guidance

Guidance for Daily Use of Face Masks
  • Use a clean or new face mask each day
  • Clean your hands with soap and water or hand sanitizer before touching the face mask
  • If you are not already wearing it, apply your face mask before coming indoors
  • Avoid touching the face mask
  • Avoid eating or drinking while wearing the face mask
  • Face masks should not have valves, as these permit droplet release from the covering, putting others nearby at risk. SCUSD will not permit face masks with valves
  • Replace the face mask if soiled or wet
How to Remove a Face Mask
  • Avoid touching the front of the face mask, which is contaminated
  • Only handle the face mask by the ties, bands or loops
  • Throw any disposable face mask in a waste container
  • Wash your cloth face mask by hand with warm water and soap or in the washing machines
  • Wash your hands with soap and water or use hand sanitizer after touching a used face mask
A face mask should not be worn in the following situations:
  • Children under age 2
  • During nap time or sleep
  • Persons exempt from wearing a face mask due to a developmental or medical condition must be confirmed by the school district health team, therapist or medical provider.  
    • A “COVID-19 Student Face Mask Exemption Request and Medical Certification” must be submitted and approved by SCUSD Health Services. See Appendix J.
  • In the event a face mask exemption is approved, the school will notify others who share those spaces and physical distancing will be enforced.  
When face masks are required, guidance allows for times when a face mask can be temporarily removed:
  • When outdoors
  • When people are eating or drinking.  Individuals must eat and drink in designated spaces and maintain as much physical distance as possible from other persons who are not members of the same household.  The space must be well-ventilated - eating outdoors is best if weather permits.
  • For individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing, when the ability to see the mouth is essential for communication.  Face shields with a cloth drape are recommended in this situation
  • When a person is not sharing a common area, room or enclosed space with others
  • When a face mask is temporarily removed, it should be placed in a clean paper bag or ventilated location (marked with the student’s name and date) until it needs to be put on again.   Replace the mask as soon as you can after these activities to reduce risk of infection.

What if a person refuses to wear a face mask? 

Continual efforts will be made using positive reinforcement teaching strategies to ensure face masks are worn properly. If a concern about wearing masks arises, notify the assigned School Nurse and/or Health Services or assigned supervisor immediately for additional support. Each unique situation will be assessed and support strategies will be employed for the well-being and safety of all. 

3. COVID-19 Testing

Used in combination with other mitigation strategies, COVID-19 testing is a valuable tool to support safer in-person instruction. Testing may allow for early identification of cases and reduced transmission. Testing is provided for free on a voluntary basis to all staff, students, their families and other community partners or volunteers and is subject to availability through CDPH.  Parent/guardian notification and consent for minors is obtained via registration on the testing software platform. 


Diagnostic testing: Testing used for individuals with symptoms or exposure to COVID- 19 to diagnose COVID-19.  If an individual is symptomatic, they should get tested for COVID-19.

Post-exposure testing: Testing of people who are asymptomatic, but have been exposed to a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19. 

Screening/Surveillance testing: Recurrent testing of asymptomatic individuals to detect COVID-19 early and stop transmission quickly.  The goal of screening testing is to detect cases early, and reduce the number of new infections.

Pre-Entry testing: Testing performed prior to returning to school/work, entering an event, competition, congregate setting or other venue in order to reduce the risk of spreading infection.  

Do not test:  Individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 within the last 90 days should not test again until the 90 days have passed, unless experiencing new symptoms. If experiencing new symptoms the individual should test with an antigen/rapid test.

Where to Get Tested

Testing will be available daily during school hours at each school site upon request during school hours and at SCUSD regional testing centers.  For more information about current testing availability, please visit

Download COVID-19 Testing Registration Flyer

Screening testing may be offered and is subject to change based on current conditions, current public health guidance, and availability of test supplies and staffing.  Anyone experiencing symptoms through the school day or had a known exposure to COVID-19 will be offered onsite testing before going home. 

Surveillance testing provided for higher risk activities/groups: High-risk groups are those who might be at high risk of severe COVID-19 that could benefit from early identification and treatment. High risk activities are those that involve increased and forceful exhalation which can pose increased risk for spreading and getting COVID-19, particularly if conducted indoors without the use of masks. 

High risk groups and individuals who participate in high-risk activities such as band, orchestra, drama, choir, athletics, and other related activities are strongly encouraged to participate in regular Covid testing.  A testing day/time will be provided weekly at large high schools and middle schools to support surveillance testing for groups, activities and programs.  Individuals in these groups or activities may also use Over-the Counter (OTC) tests at home.  All OTC tests results should be reported to Primary Health. (CDPH School Testing for COVID)

Community members are encouraged to stock as supply of over-the-counter (OTC) tests in their home in the event of an exposure or symptoms.  OTC tests may be ordered for free through  Health insurance companies also provide access to OTC tests.

Types of COVID-19 tests available:  

 Self-administered BinaxNOW rapid antigen test 

  • Swab sample collected from the nostril – self administered
  • Not processed in a laboratory
  • Observed, processed and reported by a trained staff member
  • Results are provided after 15-30 minutes
  • Detects high viral load, not as sensitive as the PCR test
  • May be used for routine screening, anyone experiencing symptoms, or exposed to COVID-19

Self-administered Over-the-Counter/At-Home rapid antigen test

  • Swab sample collected from the nostril – self administered
  • Processed at-home by the individual or parent/guardian
  • Self-reported and resulted uploaded through the Primary Health website or call number
  • Results are provided after 15-30 minutes
  • Detects high viral load, not as sensitive as the PCR test
  • May be used for routine screening, anyone experiencing symptoms, or exposed to COVID-19
  • More information on how to report an OTC/At-Home result may be found at

 Self-administered PCR test 

  • Swab sample collected from the nostrils – self administered
  • Molecular test processed in a laboratory
  • Results in 24-48 hours 
  • PCR is the most sensitive COVID test and is  considered diagnostic for COVID-19

4. Screen for Symptoms and Stay Home When Sick

Staff and students must self-screen for symptoms at home daily. If a person is sick or exhibits any symptoms of COVID-19, they may not come to school and must follow the Illness and Symptoms Guidelines for Staff and Students (Appendix B).  

Symptoms of illness include fever (100.4 or higher) or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, and diarrhea per CDC guidelines

Stay home until the following CDPH criteria to return to school are met:

 10 days have passed and at least 24 hours fever free and other symptoms improved


Present a negative COVID-19 test and at least 24 hours fever free and other symptoms improved


Present a note from a healthcare provider that confirms that current symptoms are from a chronic condition or other disease process and symptoms improved​.

Chronic Conditions

Individuals with non-infectious chronic conditions should not be excluded from attending school or work. If a student or staff member has documented chronic allergic or asthmatic symptoms (e.g., cough or runny nose), a doctor may diagnose an illness other than COVID-19 and provide a note for return to school earlier than 10 days. If there are significant and obvious respiratory symptoms the person must stay home until symptoms improve.  If there are questions about individual cases, contact your school nurse or Health Services.


Allergy symptoms are the same as early COVID-19 symptoms.  Many people who test positive for Covid remark, “I just thought it was my allergies.”  If a person has allergy symptoms they should test to rule out COVID-19.  If the test is negative and symptoms improve they can come to work or school. If allergies are chronic and documented by a physician the person should test twice weekly while symptomatic. See Appendix B.

Identifying Sick or Exposed Persons on Site

Any student or staff with symptoms of COVID-19 or who are required to quarantine per CDC guidelines may not enter the school site and will be advised to return home. 

A list of screening questions will be provided = upon entry to the school or work site.

Students and staff must enter through entry and exit locations at each site.  

  • Provide clear signage visible at all entries with the symptom checklist..  
  • When face masks are required, students and staff approaching indoor entries should be wearing a face mask. Face masks will be available for those who do not have their own
  • Any individual experiencing symptoms of illness must be directed to the care room, offered COVID-19 testing with consent, and sent home.
  • Any individual exhibiting one or more symptoms throughout the day will be offered COVID-19 testing and required to wait in the identified care area with a face mask on until they can be taken home or to a healthcare facility, as soon as possible.

5. Hand Hygiene

All students and staff must wash hands frequently. Soap products marketed as “antimicrobial” are not necessary or recommended. If soap and water are not available, use district-approved greater than 60% ethyl alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Training on effective hand washing and use of sanitizer must be provided to all students and staff. Children under age 9 should only use hand sanitizer under adult supervision. Call Poison Control if consumed: 1-800-222-1222.

The following guidelines are recommended for school settings. At minimum, students and staff must wash their hands or use hand sanitizer.

  • Upon arrival to the school site 
  • Before lunch
  • Before leaving the site
  • Upon entry to any new classroom
  • When using the restroom
  • When visibly dirty
  • After using a tissue, coughing into hands
  • Upon arriving home

6. Respiratory Hygiene

Use respiratory hygiene at all times on site. Once a tissue is used, throw it away in a waste container and then wash hands with soap and water or use hand sanitizer. Do not touch the face.  Reinforce  respiratory hygiene or cough/sneeze etiquette, including use of tissues and elbows by using signage, training, and lessons.  See Appendix H for signage.

7. Contact Tracing & Reporting COVID-19 Cases

Expecting and planning for the occurrence of one or more cases of COVID-19 helps the district respond immediately to mitigate the impact, minimize spread of COVID within the school/work site, and allow the school/work site to remain open.  

To help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the community,  SCUSD Health Services will conduct COVID-19 contact tracing within the district. 

  • Any individual who tests positive for COVID-19 or has been exposed to COVID-19 must immediately notify their school-site administrator or supervisor.  
  • If an Over the Counter/At-Home Test was taken – remind the individual to upload results to Primary Health.
  • Administrators/supervisors must immediately email the District COVID Response Team at
  • Contact tracers will contact the individual or their parent/guardian to conduct contact tracing as it impacts district staff and students.


  • In line with CDPH Group Tracing Approach, when there is an exposure on a school site or school activity, exposure notices will be sent to the entire classroom/activity. 
  • For exposures outside of school or in households the district will follow SCPH guidelines.
  • Isolation and quarantine guidelines for staff will follow Cal/OSHA requirements.

See Basic Isolation and Quarantine Guidance for Families, Students and Staff and Appendix C: SCPH Decision Forest for further details and guidance.

8. Ventilation

SCUSD is ensuring there is sufficient ventilation in all school classrooms and shared workspaces per the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air- Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE).

  • HVAC filters are replaced per manufacturer recommendations.  HVAC units that can be retrofitted to accept MERV-13 filters have been; portable HEPA filtration systems are available and shall be used in all other spaces and are designed for the size of the space.
  • HVAC units are programmed to turn-on and run continuously for a minimum of 2 hours before and for a minimum of 2 hours after classrooms are occupied.
  • The HVAC system is designed to maximize the circulation and filtration of air.  Windows and doors may be opened so long as it is deemed safe to do so.
  • Portable HEPA filtration units have been provided for spaces that need additional filtration considerations such as cafeterias and other school/work spaces. Portable HEPA filtration units provided to spaces MUST be plugged-in and utilized correctly.  
    • Work with your SPOM for filter changes when a red light appears.
    • Portable HEPA filtration units should be placed in an area where air flow is not obstructed.
  • Specific practices to avoid:
    • Classrooms or buses with no ventilation or additional airflow
    • Classrooms or buses with increased airflow across occupants (e.g., oscillating or box fans blowing into the classroom

9. Poor Air Quality

Schools must balance the COVID-19 prevention benefits of ventilation and outdoor activity with the outdoor air quality.  On projected poor air quality days schools will monitor Air Now and Spare the Air websites for air quality readings. When the Air Quality Index (AQI) is poor schools are advised to close windows and doors.

When you can visibly see or smell smoke or AQI is 151 or over:

  • Close all windows and doors
  • Adjust HVAC systems to prevent outdoor air from being pulled into the building when possible
  • Eat in the multiple purpose room, other available spaces, or the classroom
  • Move outdoor activities indoors
  • Follow all guidance issued by CDPH or SCPH about air quality and COVID mitigation
  • When face masks are not required – all individuals are strongly encouraged to face mask when indoors

10. Cold Weather

Schools must balance the COVID-19 prevention benefits of ventilation with cold weather.  Individuals are advised to dress warmly as cold weather approaches.  On cold days doors and windows should remain cracked if possible to ensure increased ventilation. Portable HEPA filtration units provided to spaces where MERV-13 filtration is not available MUST be plugged-in and utilized correctly.

11. Disinfecting Procedures

Disinfecting Procedure

Regularly disinfect high-touch areas daily.  Frequently touched surfaces in the school include, but are not limited to:

  • Door handles
  • Light switches
  • Sink handles
  • Bathroom surfaces
  • Tables
  • Student Desks
  • Chairs 

If an individual who is positive for COVID has been physically present, the spaces where the individual spent a large proportion of their time (e.g., classroom office) should be disinfected. Frequent disinfection can pose a health risk to children and students due to the strong chemicals often used and so is not recommended in the school setting unless a positive case of COVID has been identified. 

Consistent with recommendations by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the district strives to select disinfectant products with ingredients that reduce the impact on those with asthma.

Inventory Controls

  • Order supplies for start and plan for inventory management
    • Face masks for students and staff routinely stocked in every room and all entrances.Individuals may use their own face covering that meets all current requirements
    • Disposable face masks for care room
    • Face shields or goggles for care room and for teachers
    • Hand sanitizer – in every room, used by every individual entering
    • Spray bottles and disinfectant and paper towels- every room to clean surfaces 
    • Gloves – for use in case of vomiting or helping sick or injured student
    • Thermometers – thermometer needed at each site for care room
    • Handwashing stations if insufficient sink access at sites
  • Backstock of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
  • Proper ordering procedures from central location/system
  • Use of district-approved products only

Some items an individual may normally use at home are not allowed for use in schools due to State and Federal policies in place for student health and safety, unless properly trained by the California Department of Pesticide Regulations.  Aerosol spray containers are not allowed on school property for safety reasons.  While the district is making every effort to ensure that supplies are replenished at our school sites, the following is a list of items the District can recommend for individual procurement and use:

Hand Sanitizer – It is recommended that hand sanitizer be at least 60% ethyl alcohol based in order to kill the virus and any other bacteria. 

Disinfecting  Wipes – Disinfecting wipes are effective and allowable, but it is important to read and follow all instructions. 

It is critical that individuals read and follow the directions for any cleaning product every time before use.

12. Physical Distancing 

Physical distance has been shown to reduce transmission and although distance criteria per CDPH are no longer required in schools, all individuals should maintain as much physical distance as practicably possible.  

13. Supporting Mental Well-Being

The COVID pandemic is deeply impacting the mental health and well-being of our entire community.  Impacts to economic stability, housing, education, access to physical and mental health care, basic needs and the loss of loved ones continue and are exacerbated in many communities facing systemic inequities and health disparities. Coping strategies are taxed or exhausted, leading to a range of emotional and behavioral responses for adults and children. The uncertainty of evolving variants coupled with constantly changing conditions and requirements has led to an increase in anxiety and depression symptoms. 

SCUSD remains committed to meeting the needs of our staff and students during this time of collective crisis and is working to expand mental health support to all school sites.  SCUSD’s Student Support Centers provide a spectrum of integrated support to all students and families that spans the areas of youth development, family services, academic enrichment, health and mental health services and supports.

  • To find the most current listing of Student Support Center staff assigned to schools – visit  
  • All families, students and staff may also access Care Solace – a complimentary and confidential service to find mental health or substance use care available regardless of your insurance status. Care Solace’s team is available 24/7/365 and can support you in any language.
    • Call 888-515-0595 available 24/7/365
    • Visit and either search on your own OR click “Book Appointment” for assistance by video chat, email, or phone.

Mitigation Standards and Guidelines at SCUSD Sites


To break the chain of potential transmission and to limit the risk of exposure to all our community members, we must follow the guidance below. When staff and students return to campus, they will return to a physical space that enables all individuals to follow recommended health precautions. To protect students, staff and visitors to school sites, SCUSD staff will evaluate all spaces and make modifications in order to maximize ventilation and spacing needs. This includes signage in every space with public health reminders. Below is a list of standards to be followed at each SCUSD site. 

Entrances & Exits (Pick-Up & Drop-Off)

  • SCUSD will take measures to minimize crowding at drop-off and pick-up times
  • Add visual cues or barriers to direct traffic flow
  • If possible, divide student entry points rather than funneling all students through the same entry space. These approaches can limit the amount of close contact between students in high-traffic situations and time
  • Provide access to hand washing or hand sanitizer and face masks at all entrances


  • Schools must carefully plan health and safety mitigation measures for activities that include visitors that are essential to the education of current or prospective students.
  • Other essential visitors include but are not limited to government agency staff conducting health and safety assessments, a parent/guardian attending an essential meeting, such as an Individual Education Plan (IEP) meeting, or participating in an essential service for their student related to their educational plan. Essential visitors may also include contracted services staff performing their work at a district facility.  Staff will not bring other individuals with them to the work site who are not employees, do not have valid business at the worksite, or do not have prior permission to be present.


  • Volunteers may be permitted to support our schools.  Subject to CDPH and SCPH guidance, parent volunteers willing to provide verification of vaccination status and/or weekly testing and comply with all required health and safety measures may be allowed on campus.  Volunteers may also access onsite COVID-19  testing.  Please note all volunteers must follow all district clearance requirements.


  • In order to limit the spread of COVID-19 among individuals and cohorts, staff are encouraged to conduct staff meetings, professional development training and education, and other activities in the virtual space when practicable 
  • If all other public health measures are employed, a meeting may take place in person.

Common Areas/Break Times

  • Minimize the use and prevent the congregation of adults in staff rooms, break rooms, and other settings – ensure room limits and masking requirements are visibly posted and enforced
  • Provide various spaces for individuals to take their breaks away from others, such as protected outdoor spaces or alternate rooms  
  • Provide alternate break times so that staff do not congregate in spaces together
  • Individuals must eat and drink in designated spaces and maintain physical distance as much as practicably possible from other persons.  The space must be well-ventilated – eating outdoors is best if weather permits.  
  • Provide hand sanitizer and/or soap and disinfectant easily accessible at all times and near any shared objects such as equipment used by many people and doors. 


  • Ensure all bathrooms have soap and paper towels, refuse containers  
  • Paper towels will be provided and are recommended for use over air dryers
  • Post clear signage for occupancy, hygiene, and face masking
  • Avoid taking large groups to the bathrooms at once (e.g., avoid having all classes use the bathroom right after lunch or recess) 

Designated “Care Room”

  • Sites must designate an area for sick individuals where they can be isolated while waiting to be assessed and go home.  Students, staff and community partners may request COVID-19 testing at the school site Care Room.
  • Ensure good ventilation
  • Ensure the following supplies are available: hand sanitizer, disposable face masks, face shields, gloves, disinfectant, thermometer, trash can with liner
  • Room must be disinfected after each use. Room must be supervised.
  • If more than one individual is sick, maintain at least 6 feet of distance between persons in the room and and as much ventilation as possible. 


During mealtime, schools must take every measure to maximize physical distancing and enhance ventilation. Utilizing outdoor spaces for mealtime is encouraged to the extent possible and is the preferred space for eating.

Mealtime Guidance

Cold Weather/Rainy Days

Indoor eating spaces may need to be utilized during rainy days or inclement weather.  Schools are encouraged to keep eating time to the shortest time possible..  Schools must follow the indoor seating guidance below.  During inclement weather doors and windows should remain cracked if possible to ensure increased ventilation. 

Indoor Cafeteria Seating
  • When possible, meals should be eaten outdoors.
  • Ensure portable HEPA units are properly in use.
  • Physical distance to the extent practicable.
  • Use additional spaces outside of the cafeteria for mealtime, such as the gymnasium or outdoors to facilitate distancing. 
  • If indoor meal times are paired with recess or outdoor time, consider having half the group eat while the other half has recess to assist with physical distancing. 
  • Eating should be completed quickly and then face masks placed back on (when required)
  • Hand hygiene must be practiced before and after eating.
Outdoor Eating Spaces
  • When possible, meals should be eaten outdoors, distancing as much as possible. 
  • Allow students to eat under shady areas, grassy spaces or other non traditional spaces to allow for maximum physical distancing.
  • Ensure garbage cans are placed accordingly to accommodate new eating spaces
  • Use carpet squares or mats to extend outdoor seating options.
  • Request additional outdoor tables from facilities if needed.
Shared Items/Disinfecting
  • Given very low risk of transmission from surfaces and shared objects, there is no need to limit food service approaches to single use items and packaged meals.
  • Disinfect frequently touched surfaces. Surfaces that come in contact with food should be washed, rinsed, and sanitized before and after meals.
  • Additional funding has been allocated to increase mealtime supervision.
  • Ensure supervision staff spreads out over the span of all meal spaces (indoor and outdoor) to reinforce health and safety protocols.


  • When required, face masks will be utilized properly at all times when inside the classroom.  Additional face masks should be available, in case a covering becomes soiled or needs replacing
  • Face masks are recommended to prevent transmission of Covid-19.
  • Some staff and students will be required or choose to wear face masks due to exposures or other personal reasons. All individuals are allowed to face mask when face mask requirements are lifted.
  • Hand sanitizer will be mounted to the wall at the doorway in every classroom
  • Classrooms should open windows and doors if possible to maximize ventilation 
  • Develop activities that model and reinforce good hygiene and face masking 
  • As much spacing will be provided within the class and between desks as reasonably practicable, while allowing all students to attend at full capacity
  • Activities that involve singing should take place outdoors
  • Consider holding class outdoors. Resources about setting up outdoors classrooms can be found at  School staff may take their class outside to complete an assignment in the fresh air; classes can rotate classes through an existing school garden space to use hands-on learning resources; or spread out across their playing field. Trees or other existing structures may be used to provide shade on warm days. 


Activities where there is increased likelihood for aerosols, such as band practice, choir practice and performances, are permitted. 

To safely conduct these activities indoors, CDPH strongly recommends these activities meet  the following guidelines:

  • Properly use modified face coverings and bell coverings when playing wind and brass instruments.
  • Maintain physical distancing as much as practicably possible.
  • Ensure portable air filters are utilized properly.
  • If physical distancing cannot be maintained then weekly COVID-19 screening testing is recommended, including those who are fully vaccinated.
  • Surveillance testing provided for higher risk activities that involve increased and forceful exhalation which can pose increased risk for spreading and getting COVID-19, particularly if conducted indoors without the use of masks. High risk groups who participate in activities such as band, orchestra, choir, drama or other related activities are strongly encouraged to participate in regular Covid testing.  Testing may be accessed through the Care Room, a testing day/time window at the school site, a Regional Testing Center, or by using Over-the Counter (OTC) tests at home.  All OTC tests results should be reported to Primary Health.

If physical distancing cannot be maintained then weekly COVID-19 screening testing with either PCR or rapid antigen testing is recommended, including those who are fully vaccinated.

PE Classes/Athletics

Ensure personal hygiene precautions in locker rooms, including physical distancing when practically possible and use of face masks when required.

  • Participants will wash their hands/ or use hand sanitizer prior to and immediately following activities where equipment and/or balls are handled by multiple individuals.
  • Activities that require heavy exertion should be conducted outside in a physically distanced manner 
    • When required, face masks must be worn during indoor physical conditioning and training or physical education classes (except when showering).
    • Players should take a break from exercise if any difficulty in breathing is noted and should change their mask if it becomes wet and sticks to the player’s face and obstructs breathing. Masks that restrict airflow under heavy exertion (such as N-95 masks) are not advised for exercise
  • There should be no shared athletic supplies, such as towels, clothing, shoes, or sports specific supplies, between students.
  • Youth sports programs and schools will provide information to parents or guardians regarding these guidelines, along with the safety measures that will be in place in these settings with which parents or guardians must comply
  • Surveillance testing provided for higher risk activities that involve increased and forceful exhalation which can pose increased risk for spreading and getting COVID-19, particularly if conducted indoors without the use of masks. High risk groups who participate in athletics are strongly encouraged to participate in regular Covid testing.  Testing may be accessed through the Care Room, a testing day/time window at the school site, a Regional Testing Center, or by using Over-the Counter (OTC) tests at home.  All OTC tests results should be reported to Primary Health.

Field Trips

Field trips are allowable following all required health and safety mitigation measures.  Any field trip approved by the district requires students, staff and volunteers to follow all the public health mitigation measures, regardless of location.  Refer to Risk Management “Field Trip Forms and Regulations” for the most up to date requirements.

Extracurricular Gatherings 

Outdoor/ Indoor Extra-Curricular Event COVID-19 Mitigation Requirements

Coming together in community is essential to building cohesion and a positive school climate.  Extracurricular events and school traditions keep us connected to each other and improve our collective mental health and wellbeing.

The following guidance takes into account the broad range of extracurricular activities occurring at a broad range of school sites, from smaller elementary, multi-grade schools and various secondary schools. Extra-curricular events include but are not limited to performances, competitions, dances, open houses or other events that allow more than just household members to attend.  

Site principals must widely disseminate protocols before the event. Additionally, site principals and their designees will make sure health & safety protocols are effectively operationalized with appropriate planning, monitoring, and evaluation of implementation. Using the following layered health and safety measures allows us to mitigate COVID-19 transmission at these events.  

NOTE:  This guidance is contingent upon CDPH and SCPH guidance and current case counts. This guidance is subject to change based on current conditions.

Outdoor Extracurricular Event Attendance

Schools are encouraged to hold events outdoors when possible as outdoors provides the best ventilation possible and lowest risk for gathering large groups.  Extracurricular events hosted outdoors are allowable, following the standard mitigation measures for outdoors:

  • Health screening signage upon entry
  • Provide access to face masks at entry points
  • Provide access to hand sanitizer
  • Maximize to the extent possible physical distancing between non-household groups
  • Exposure to COVID-19:  attendees must acknowledge the unique challenges associated with exposures and contact tracing at events of this nature. Ticketing process and promotions must include an acknowledgement of potential exposure notice

There is no requirement for face masking or vaccine or testing verification for outdoor events.

Indoor Extracurricular Event Attendance: Applicable when Sacramento County is in the CDC “High” Community Level Rating 

When Sacramento County is in the CDC “High” Community Level rating and has enacted a district wide indoor mask mandate, school sites may host open invite or ticketed indoor extracurricular events following the required mitigation measures below:

School sites may host open invite or ticketed indoor extracurricular events following the required mitigation measures below:

  • Require one of the following options for the entire event:
    • Require face masking for all participants when indoors (no checking vaccine status or testing results)
    • OR
    • Negative COVID test for all participants within 48 hours of the event (when face masks are not required, face masking is optional based on personal risk tolerance).  
      • Taking a rapid antigen test as close to the event as possible is preferable.  
      • To remove as many barriers as possible for participation, At-Home COVID test kits will be provided to all participants (including guests) to support pre-event testing. Event planners will bring additional test kits to the event as a backup precaution.
      • Testing is also provided at each school site and three district locations.  
      • School sites may verify negative test results with a Primary Health screenshot, picture or written self-attestation (CDPH OTC Guidance).
      • Individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 within the last 90 days should not test again until the 90 days have passed, unless experiencing new symptoms. To clear this requirement, individuals may present their positive test result (with date) or contact tracing verification email.
  • Health screening signage upon entry – asking attendees to screen for symptoms.  Deny entry to individuals with symptoms.
  • Face masks and hand sanitizer will be provided at entry. 
  • Maximize ventilation with doors/windows open while maintaining security and safety needs
  • Set up hand sanitizing stations throughout the venue
  • Maximize to the extent possible physical distancing between non-household groups
  • Staff and/or chaperones must be present to implement and reinforce public health mitigation measures, such as face masking or verifying negative test results and maintain physical distancing as much as practicable
    • See the security section below if security issues arise due to enforcing these mitigation measures
  • Host sites may determine if the event includes tickets for guests – all guests must comply with all health and safety measures 
  • Food/Drink: the event will ensure eating or drinking occurs outdoors.  Food concessions must follow Nutrition Services standards and include pre-packed or wrapped items
  • Exposure to COVID-19:  attendees must acknowledge the unique challenges associated with exposures and contact tracing at events of this nature. Ticketing process and promotions must include an acknowledgement of potential exposure notice

COVID-19 Testing for Events

COVID-19 Testing for Events:

Security Arrangements/Duties

  • Security may be arranged through the Safe Schools office by emailing to make appropriate arrangements
  • School staff and volunteers are responsible for enforcing public health mitigation measures.  These measures include face masking, symptom  screening, verifying negative test results, eating in specific locations, etc.
  • Security staff will intervene if a conflict arises about health and safety measures or other issues
  • For example:
    • An attendee refuses to comply with health protocols upon entry.  Entry should be denied and if needed, security will be available to ensure this individual leaves the premises  
    • After entry to the event, if an administrator/designee determines an individual needs to leave due to lack of complying with health and safety measures, security may be called to assist in the effort to have the individual escorted away from the event

Orientation/In-School Tours

For student groups who have never been to campus (i.e. incoming TK or Kinder, 7th grade and 9th grade) these types of activities are essential so that we can safely bring our students back to school. These essential activities also include in-school tours for families and students choosing a school.  Families may also opt out if they are not comfortable. 

  • Sites should conduct as much of the orientation or visit as possible virtually (either pre-recorded or through an email) so that the site visit is targeted and intentional.
  • Orientations/in-person visits should be largely outside and grouped into physically distanced groups.
  • All health mitigation measures will be followed.
  • If age/developmentally appropriate, students may attend on their own to limit the number of people gathering and limit potential exposure.
  • If parents are included in the visit groups, group size must be adjusted to account for the number of attendees. 
  • For TK or Kinder, sites may consider a rotating schedule that allows for site visits throughout a set time period, limiting to a few visitors at a time to avoid crowding.
  • Follow established protocols for notifying individuals of a COVID exposure.

Recess/Yards and Playspaces

All playgrounds and play equipment may be utilized following the simple guidelines below:

  • Wash hands or use hand sanitizer before and after recess
  • Shared equipment may be utilized during recess, provided students wash their hands before and after use 
  • Outdoor playgrounds/natural play areas only need routine maintenance. Students must wash or sanitize their hands before and after using these spaces
  • Allow flexibility in recess policies and the use of teacher time to allow for supervision of classroom recess

School Bus/Transportation

All personal hygiene guidance must be followed on the school bus. 

  • Educate parents and students on the steps they must take to keep others safe during loading and unloading
  • If a student appears visibly sick, if parents are present they will be asked to keep the student home and follow Illness and Symptom Requirements (Appendix B)
  • When required, all riders must wear a face mask while riding the bus, unless exempted
  • Each rider must use hand sanitizer before entering the bus
  • Ensure good ventilation with open/partially open windows
  • Prevent students from walking past each other by taking the following measures
    • Seat students from the rear of the bus forward
    • Board students for the after school route based on the order in which students will be dropped off. Students who get off first should board last and sit in the front
  • Buses should be thoroughly disinfected daily and after transporting any individual who is exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19
  • Bus drivers should be provided disinfectant and disposable gloves to support disinfection of frequently touched surfaces during the day
  • Physical distance students when practicably possible

Home Visits

Staff will follow these recommendations to reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19 for themselves and families in the community when conducting home visits. For additional questions or concerns consult SCUSD Health Services Department:

  • Staff will follow all public health mitigation measures outlined in this plan
  • If possible, arrange a date and time for the visit (for example, when conducting a Parent Teacher Home Visit).
  • In the interest of safety, notify your supervisor of your plan. Home visits should be conducted with another trained staff member.  
  • Outside provides the best ventilation and is the safest place to gather with others. 
  • Face masking is recommended during an indoor visit.
  • For the safety of all involved in the visit, maintain reasonable physical distancing.

COVID-19 Response Teams


The district and school site COVID-19 response teams ensure implementation of public health measures. 

School Site Response Teams

The school site safety plan will incorporate plans for ensuring all public health measures are implemented and for responding to COVID-19 concerns. School sites will designate staff to serve on the COVID-19 Response Team and these members will regularly communicate the importance of following these safety measures.  

In the event of a COVID-19 concern,  staff should know who to contact. Accurate phone numbers and emails will be updated for all employees, agency contractors and students to enable contact tracing in case of exposure.

District Response Team

The district shall routinely revise and update plans and procedures for ensuring all public health measures are implemented and for responding to COVID-19 concerns. Designated department leads are identified for ensuring public health mitigation measures are implemented and followed.

All reports of COVID-19 illness, positive tests, and/or exposures must be immediately reported via an email to

See the Basic Isolation and Quarantine Guidance for Families, Students and Staff for frequently asked questions.

References and Appendices



CDC (2022).  Operational Strategy for Reopening Schools.  Retrieved from:

CDPH (2022).  COVID-19 Public Health Guidance for K–12 Schools to Support Safe In-Person Learning, 2022–2023 School Year.  Retrieved from:

CDPH (2022).California Department of Public Health Safe and SMART Events Playbook.  Retrieved from: California Department of Public Health: Safe and SMART Events Playbook

CDPH (20221) Guidance for Local Health Jurisdictions on Isolation and Quarantine of the General PublicSelf-Quarantine Instructions for Individuals Exposed to COVID-19 June 30, 2021.  Retrieved from:,

CDPH (2022) Preliminary Testing Framework for K-12 Schools.  Retrieved from:

CDPH (2021) CDPH Valencia Branch Laboratory PLAYBOOK to Stand Up Community-Based Collection Sites.  Retrieved from:

CAL/OSHA (2022). COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standards.  California Occupational Health Administration.  Retrieved from:

Covid 19 Guidance for Schools, Academy of Pediatrics (2022) retrieved from:

Resolve to Save Lives (2021) Opening K-12 schools for in-person learning amidst vaccines and variants: what have we learned and how can this guide us?  Retrieved from:


Appendix A: COVID-19 Precautions for 22-23 School Year

Appendix B: Illness and Symptoms Guidelines for Staff and Students

Appendix C: SCPH COVID-19 Decision Tree for K-12 Schools

Also available in SpanishHmong | ChineseVietnamese

Appendix D : What to Do When a Student is Ill

Appendix E: At-Home Testing and Reporting Instructions

Also available in SpanishHmongChineseVietnameseFarsi, Dari

Appendix F: Basic Isolation and Quarantine Guidance for Families, Students and Staff

Appendix G: Ideas for Hand Washing Routines for Teachers

Appendix H: Respiratory Hygiene/Cough and Sneeze Etiquette

Appendix J: COVID-19 Student Face Masks Exemption Request and Medical Certification