Reopening and Reclosing
When can students and staff return to campus?
At this point in the COVID-19 pandemic, California is prepared to enter a new phase. We have made significant progress in vaccinating individuals and reducing community transmission thanks to the steps taken by Californians.
Given new circumstances created by COVID-19, LEAs should liaise with Local Health Officers (LHO) and be mindful of special circumstances that may prevent some students from returning to campus and may lead others to require additional support when on campus. Additionally, LEAs must notify the California Department of Public Health of how they are serving students.
Working collaboratively with local health officials and understanding public health guidance will help LEAs respond to the changing circumstances to ensure the safety of students and staff.
LEAs can return students to campus.
All schools can now resume in-person instruction.
As of June 15, 2021, the Governor terminated the executive orders that put into place the Stay Home Order and the Blueprint for a Safer Economy. Among the restrictions that ended on June 15 was the County Tier Systems which provided guidance on when schools could resume in-person instructions.
- Blueprint for a Safe Economy
- California Department of Public Health’s COVID-19 Public Health Guidance for K-12 Schools in California, 2021-22 School Year
Establishing productive relationships with key partners with whom you will interact on an ongoing basis is key to ensuring the safety of your learning community. Since information is rapidly evolving and new information and guidance are coming out continuously as people learn more, having strong relationships with the people closest to the information will assure you can support your community in bringing students back on campus and keeping them safe.
A good way to start your health and safety planning is to establish productive relationships with key partners with whom you will interact on an ongoing basis to ensure the safety of your learning community.
- County Health Officer: Consult with your county health officer or their designated staff, who are best positioned to monitor and provide advice on local conditions. A directory of county health officers can be found here.
- County Offices of Education: Coordinate with county offices of education (COEs) for up-to-date local information and developments.
- Child Care/After School Partners: Ensure you also include child care and/or after school partners in your planning, as it is likely you will need to tightly coordinate services and logistics to ensure the least amount of student exposure to COVID-19.
- State Safe Schools for All Technical Assistance Team: As of January 2021, LEAs can also access State Technical Assistance resources available for schools and for LHDs to support safe and successful in-person instruction, through Safe Schools for All Hub.
Collaborating with your LEA’s labor partners, which are a vital part of the school community, will be more essential than ever during the COVID-19 pandemic.
For more information and resources on how to build high-performing collaborative relationships between labor partners and management, visit the California Labor Management Initiative (CA LMI). The goal of the CA LMI is to make labor-management collaboration an integral part of improving public schools and advance equity in California.
California is unequivocally committed to preserving the safety and success of in-person instruction at K-12 schools. Temporary school closure due to COVID-19 should be a last resort and considered only after all available resources have been exhausted in an attempt to preserve in-person education. In such a circumstance, continuity of instruction for students will be critical. For information regarding the provision of independent study, visit the CDE website.
Temporary school closures should be considered only after conferring with local health officials: There is no specific case threshold at which the State recommends an immediate temporary closure of a classroom or school. Instead, the process should be guided by local epidemiology, with particular attention paid to concern for in-school transmission. Operational factors may also be considered, including the ability to maintain sufficient teaching staff to provide in-person instruction.
Note that infections diagnosed in students and school staff are not necessarily the result of exposure at school, and COVID-19 transmission remains much more likely to occur among people living in the same household or participating in other non-school activities.
Testing is strongly encouraged: Testing is strongly encouraged to assess the extent of cases among students and school staff. Local health officers are encouraged to contact the State should the need for testing resources exceed local supply, and for additional consultation to support decision-making processes.
For more information about how this tool was created and answers to other questions, see the FAQ section.
Last updated on November 25, 2021.