Health & Safety Guidebook

Minimize Risk to Accelerate Learning in the Era of COVID-19

The Health and Safety Guidebook’s

Frequently Asked Questions


The Health and Safety Guidebook is intended to serve as a tool to support LEA leadership teams plan for a safe return to school that maximizes future equity outcomes and addresses the diverse needs of California’s students while adapting to the challenges posed by COVID-19. Building on the COVID-19 INDUSTRY GUIDANCE: Schools and School Based Program, these guidelines and considerations are based on the best available public health data at this time, international best practices currently employed, and the practical realities of managing school operations, as new data and practices emerge.

The Health and Safety Guidebook is intended to provide streamlined access to the most up-to-date state and federal guidance around health and safety decisions that school communities are facing, with rationales, examples, tools, and resources to support decision-making and implementation of efforts to help students re-enter schools, and focuses on the following key areas:

  • Community Health Context
  • Facilities and School Operations
  • Safe School Environments
  • Cohorts and Schedules

Starting with this brief self-assessment tool may be helpful in creating a personalized planning guide to support your LEA’s next steps in safely reopening schools.

The latest state guidance document for schools and school-based programs, published by the California Department of Public Health and the Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA)  can be found at: We also recommend that you contact your local County Public Health Office and your County Office of Education for the most up-to-date local considerations and guidances.

Tips and tools for communicating often complex health and safety requirements and guidelines are embedded throughout the Guidebook. The collection of explainer videos can be found here.  They may serve as helpful tools to briefly provide the rationales for why certain decisions and policies have been made.

We have also consolidated all of the customizable letters, communications, and signs, which can be found here.  These may be helpful starting places as you reach out and provide information to staff and families about the most up-to-date guidance for your LEA.

Both the Health and Safety Guidebook and the Continuity of Learning Playbooks are intended to serve as tools for LEA leadership teams plan for a safe return to school, focusing on minimizing risk while maximizing learning opportunities for all students. The focus of the Health and Safety Guidebooks are to provide a starting place for ensuring the health and safety of all students, staff, and school community members. The guidance, tools, and resources within the Guidebook are aimed at creating safe physical environments for teaching and learning. The Continuity of Learning Playbooks supports LEAs in their planning and implementation of instructional decisions, once determinations of school closure/reopening have been made. 

The Health & Safety guidebook were written and developed by Copernicus Solutions, a consultancy for education and nonprofit organizations, on behalf of the CCEE and in collaboration with the California State Board of Education.


The content for the guidebook is informed by: our review of California guidance; research and materials from The Council of Chief State School Officers, Education First, Education Resource Strategies, Los Angeles County Office of Education, Marin County Office of EducationSan Diego County Office of Education, and others; and the insights and expertise of dozens of school/district/county leaders and subject matter experts in K-12 education and public health, to whom we are deeply grateful. This guidebook does not constitute legal or administrative guidance; official guidance and your own county and district policies should help you determine whether and how to use the resources offered here.


We would like to especially thank the California Department of Public Health, the California Department of Education, the State Board of Education, and the California Office of the Governor for their leadership, guidance, and courage in supporting schools and districts during this time.  


We would also like to thank Dr. Marcelo G. Bonini, Dr. Henry Jay Forman, Dr. Linda Darling Hammond, Dr. Bianca Mothe, Bob Mueller, Dr. Hemal Patel, Dr. Jennifer Johnson Patel, and Dr. Matt Willis. 

CCEE’s Health and Safety Guidebook was informed by the guidance and documents below. For your convenience and easy reference, we have organized them by issuing authority or organization. 


California Department of Public Health


Counties Office of Education

Others Organizations: 

Other States: 

The Health & Safety Guidebook for California LEAs
The Health & Safety Guidebook for California LEAs was developed in collaboration with the
California State Board of Education and other technical assistance partners.