return health mitigation guidelines

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
  • Student pick-up and drop-off should occur outside the school gates/entrance. Encourage parents to stay in cars when picking students up
  • 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

Essential Visitors

  • Schools should limit nonessential visitors, volunteers, and activities involving external groups or organizations with people who are not fully vaccinated, particularly in areas where there is moderate-to-high COVID-19 community transmission
  • 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 on a limited basis to support our schools.  Subject to CDPH and SCPH guidance, parent volunteers willing to provide verification of vaccination status 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 physically if participants are not able to access the virtual space.  

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.  Individuals may not eat or drink while walking around or working within 6 feet of others.
  • 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) 


  • Evaluate traffic flow and post arrows, signs and floor decals to guide flow in one direction.  Provide delineator cones, stanchions or guide-ropes that create lanes in larger hallways
  • Post signage that encourages safe greetings and the use of face masks

Designated “Care Room”

  • Sites must designate an area for sick individuals where they can be isolated while waiting to be assessed and go home. See Appendix E. This room must be separate from the first aid room which is used for routine health procedures, first aid and medications.  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. 


Risk level for COVID-19 spread increases when face masks must be removed for eating.  During mealtime, schools must take every measure to maximize physical distancing to limit close contact while face masks are removed.  Any close contact exposure (within 6 feet for 15+ minutes) to COVID-19 during unmasked activities, such as eating, do not qualify for modified quarantine.  These types of close contacts are required to quarantine.

Mealtime Guidance

Cold Weather/Rainy Days

Indoor eating spaces will need to be utilized during rainy days or inclement weather.  Schools are encouraged to keep eating time to the shortest time possible to minimize unmasked time.  Schools must follow the indoor seating guidance below.  During inclement weather 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.

Indoor Cafeteria Seating
  • Physical distancing will be maximized between students to the extent practicable.
  • Seats should be staggered so students don’t sit directly in front of each other
  • When possible (i.e. in elementary), seating charts should be used during scheduled meals, such as lunchtime.
  • When eating breakfast, where student attendance is not scheduled, maximize physical distance to 6 feet if possible to limit close contact between students.
  • 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
  • Masks should be worn after students have finished eating or when talking with classmates.
  • Hand hygiene must be practiced before and after eating.
Outdoor Eating Spaces
  • When possible, meals should be eaten outdoors while practicing distancing. 
  • Maximize physical distance to 6 feet or more if possible to limit close contact between students.
  • 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.
  • Add additional outdoor tables when possible.
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.


  • 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
  • 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
  • Classroom teachers maintain a seating chart in the event these charts are needed to conduct contact tracing
  • Activities that involve singing should take place outdoors with face masks
  • 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 outdoors. 

In order to move these activities indoors during inclement weather, CDPH requires these activities meet  the following requirements:

  • Properly use modified face coverings and bell coverings when playing wind and brass instruments
  • Maintain at least 6 feet of physical distancing

If physical distancing of 6 feet cannot be maintained then weekly COVID-19 screening testing with either PCR or rapid antigen testing must be performed, including those who are fully vaccinated.

PE Classes/Athletics

Revised guidance is pending for  intramural/interscholastic athletics. Ensure personal hygiene precautions in locker rooms, including physical distancing when practically possible and use of face masks.

  • 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 
    • Face masks must be worn during indoor and outdoor 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
  • Athletic teams must comply with any COVID-19 Testing requirements implemented by SCPH or CDPD.  COVID-19 testing will be made readily available to all student athletes and coaching staff.

Large Gatherings

Non-essential events, assemblies, dances, rallies, parades, field trips, and other activities that require close contact or that would promote congregating are restricted at this time.  Dependent on current public health guidance, certain types of events may be permitted. This section will be revised according to the most recent guidance.

Current COVID-19 Restrictions for Event Attendance

Currently schools are allowed to have limited attendance at small outdoor or indoor extra-curricular events.  A small extra-curricular event includes a sports team, other team/club activity or competition, or a performance by one group/club or one single class held outside of the school day. These requirements do not require proof of vaccination or negative COVID-19 testing, since attendance is limited and physical distancing is maximized.

  • Host events outdoors when possible to increase ventilation (weather/type of event permitting)
  • Event must be outside of the school day (after-school or weekend event)
  • Restricted to parents of students participating in the activity related to the event
  • Immediate household members may attend – up to 4 tickets are provided per household, however may not exceed 75% occupancy of the given space
  • All attendees must be health screened upon entry and wear face coverings at all times
  • Household members may sit next to each other – physical distancing between household groups is required 
  • If the event utilizes indoor spaces – maximize ventilation with doors/windows open while maintaining security and safety needs
  • Hand sanitizing stations will be set up all throughout the venue
  • Food may be consumed outside only with physical distancing
  • No ticket sales are allowed 


For student groups who have never been to campus, i.e. incoming TK or Kinder, 7th grade and 9th grade, these types of activities may be deemed essential so that we can safely bring our students back to school. Families may also opt out if they are not comfortable.  Sites should conduct as much of the orientation as possible virtually (either pre-recorded or through an email) so that the site visit is targeted and intentional.   If age/developmentally appropriate, students should attend on their own to limit the number of people gathering and limit potential exposure.  Orientations should be largely outside and grouped into physically distanced groups.  All health mitigation measures will be followed.   Parents/guardians will need to attend for a TK, Kinder, as well as a student with medical needs or disabilities that require care and may attend in these situations.  For TK or Kinder, sites should consider a rotating schedule that allows for site visits throughout a set time period (limiting to just a few visitors at a time).

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, parents will be asked to take the student home and follow Illness and Symptom Requirements (Appendix B)
  • 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
  • Students living in the same household may sit together on the bus

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.  
  • Staff should drive to the location in separate cars, unless they are members of the same household.
  • When arriving at the home, put on your face mask
  • Do not enter the home. Stay outside for the safety of all involved in the visit, wear a face mask, and maintain reasonable physical distancing
  • Upon returning to the car, remove the face mask by the ear loops and use hand sanitizer on your hands.