School Safety Plans
What policies and supplies need to be in place for on-site learning?
Evidence supports the view that risk to students, staff, and educators can be brought to acceptably minimal levels with robust infection control practices when implemented in a collaborative and transparent way among all stakeholders, including educators and other school personnel, administrators and district leaders, families, and students.
A COVID-19 Safety Plan (CSP) is no longer required, but it is recommended that LEAs create and share a safety plan. Additionally, LEAs receiving ARP ESSER funds must adopt a plan and review it every six months.
It is recommended that, at a minimum, all LEAs post a safety plan, communicating the safety measures in place for the current school year on the LEA’s website and at schools, and disseminate to families in advance of the start of the school year as well as any changes throughout the school year.
As California moves to a new phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, COVID-19 Safety Plans (CSPs) are no longer required. However, creating and sharing a Safety Plan is recommended.
Evidence supports the view that student, staff, and educator risk can all be brought to acceptably minimal levels with robust infection control practices when implemented in a collaborative and transparent way among all stakeholders, including educators and other school personnel, administrators and district leaders, families, and students.
Posting and sharing a Safety Plan is recommended.
- At a minimum. It is recommended that at a minimum all LEAs post a safety plan, communicating the safety measures in place for the current school year on the LEA’s website and at schools, and disseminate to families in advance of the start of the school year as well as any changes throughout the year.
- Best practice to build trust. In order to build trust in the school community and support a successful return to school, it is a best practice to provide transparency to the school community regarding the school’s safety plans.
LEAs receiving ARP ESSER funds must adopt a plan and review it every six months.
- What: With the approval of the federal American Rescue Plan, each LEA receiving Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ARP ESSER) funds is required to adopt a Safe Return to In-Person Instruction and Continuity of Services Plan and review it at least every six months for possible updates.
- How: The plan must describe how the local educational agency will maintain the health and safety of students, educators and other staff. Reference the Elementary and Secondary School Relief Fund (ESSER III) Safe Return to In-Person Instruction Local Educational Agency Plan Template.
The California Coronavirus COVID-19 Testing Task Force (TTF) has created the Playbook to Stand Up School-Based Collection Sites to make it easier for LEAs to partner with the state to ramp up capacity of COVID-19 testing.
This step-by-step guide includes more details about the eight critical steps:
- creating your collection plan;
- completing the onboarding forms;
- completing an onboarding checklist;
- registering with Color;
- ordering kits;
- supervising sample collection;
- shipping collected samples for processing; and
- reporting and billing.
- Finding a COVID-19 test site near you
- California COVID-19 Testing Task Force (TTF)
- CDPH’s general testing guidance
- Cal/OSHA COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standards Frequently Asked Questions
LEAs should plan to continue to budget for, purchase, and distribute additional supplies that may be needed to individual sites in a timely manner.
- Identify Needs: To ensure the safety of students, staff, and visitors, LEAs should also consider what equipment and supplies will be needed to implement new protocols. Here’s a list of purchases LEAs may want to consider.
- Procure Supplies: Purchasing them through your LEA’s regular procurement channels will likely save you time over establishing new ones.
- Leverage Statewide Master Contracts: The Department of General Services negotiated statewide master contracts, which LEAs may leverage to reduce costs and secure supply chains. Additional information on procuring masks can be found here.
- Marin COE’s EPE procurement calculator helps estimate quantities and prices of needed purchases.
- District comeback cost calculator from ERS
- Searchable directory of statewide master contracts
Staff members are at the center of everything that happens at a school site. Creating safe school environments necessitates ensuring their safety and training them on new protocols so they in turn may help ensure the safety of students.
- Provide Health and Safety Training: Train all site personnel on how COVID-19 is spread and on health and safety policies.
- Train Site Leadership Teams: Ensure the site leadership team and related personnel are trained and up-to-date on the LEA’s policies and protocols.
- Review Onboarding Processes: Establish clear processes for training additional staff in case self-quarantine requirements sideline existing staff or there is staff turnover.
- Ensure Staff Safety: To ensure staff safety at all times, communicate to staff that adults in K-12 school settings are required to mask when sharing indoor spaces with students.
- Support Staff at Higher Risk: Support staff who are at higher risk for severe illness, or who cannot safely distance from household contacts at higher risk, by providing options such as telework, where appropriate, or teaching in a virtual learning or independent study context.
- Designate a Staff Liaison to Act as Point of Contact: A single point of contact should be established and identified at each school site to handle questions or concerns around practices, protocols, or potential exposure. This person can also serve as a liaison to public health agencies and should be in constant contact with the LEA and/or COE.
- Inform Staff of Liaison: Staff should know who they are and how to contact them.
- Tracking and Notification: The liaison should be trained to coordinate the documentation and tracking of possible exposure, in order to notify local health officials, staff, and families in a prompt and responsible manner.
- Minimize Penalty for Staff Absence: Develop policies that encourage staff who are sick or who have recently been in contact with a person with COVID-19 to stay at home without fear of reprisal, and ensure staff is aware of these policies.
- Recommend Flu Shots: Strongly recommend that all students and staff be immunized each autumn against influenza unless contraindicated by personal medical conditions. This helps protect the school community and decrease illnesses that cannot be readily distinguished from COVID-19 and would therefore trigger extensive measures from the school and public health authorities.
- Reboarding Resources for returning employees to site from Orange County Department of Education include staff checklists, manager presentations, and more
For more information about how this tool was created and answers to other questions, see the FAQ section.