COVID-19 Response Recommendations for School Administration
Disease Prevention Guidance
Reporting Guidance/How to Report
California’s Safe Schools For All Plan provides the support and accountability to establish a clear path to minimize in-school transmission and enable a phased in return to in-person instruction. In effort to prevent illness among staff and students, and to allow continued progress toward reopening of schools, all sites must have a completed COVID-19 safety plan (CSP) in place and posted to their website. This plan outlines a school site response to a suspect or confirmed COVID-19 case to prevent and minimize spread in the school setting.
The Safe Schools for All Hub consolidates key resources and information related to COVID-19 and schools. All current guidance documents can be found at the State of California Safe Schools for All HUB. New resources will be added to the Hub on a regular basis. Please visit https://schools.covid19.ca.gov/ for California's K-12 Framework for the 2022/23 School Year.
Vaccination, for those eligible, as well as screening testing, face coverings, ventilation, handwashing and respiratory etiquette, staying home when sick and getting tested, contact tracing in combination with quarantine and isolation, and cleaning and disinfection are important layers of prevention to keep K-12 schools safe.
The current CDPH guidance for K-12 schools is available here, COVID-19 Public Health Guidance for K-12 Schools in California, 2022-23 School Year. Important points of the CDPH K-12 Guidance are below.
In In K-12 settings face coverings continue to be strongly recommended indoors, with exemptions per CDPH face mask guidance.
Cal OSHA Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS) mandates that employers must supply N-95 respirator mask to unvaccinated employees who request them. FAQs about the Cal OSHA ETS can be found here: Revisions to the COVID-19 Prevention Emergency Temporary Standards Frequently Asked Questions.
CDPH Guidance on Ventilation of Indoor Environments and Ventilation and Filtration to Reduce Long-Range Airborne Transmission of COVID-19 and Other Respiratory Infections: Considerations for Reopened Schools.
In-person instruction can occur safely without minimum physical distancing requirements when other mitigation strategies (e.g., masking) are implemented.
Teach and reinforce washing hands, avoiding contact with one's eyes, nose, and mouth, and covering coughs and sneezes among students and staff.
In general, routine cleaning is enough to sufficiently remove the virus that causes COVID-19 from surfaces. If disinfectants are used, use asthma-safer products.
Arrange for eating outdoors as much as feasible.
Resources for schools interested in testing include: California’s Testing Task Force K-12 Schools Testing Program and K-12 school-based COVID-19 testing strategies; The Safe Schools for All state technical assistance (TA) portal; and the CDC K-12 School Guidance screening testing considerations (in Section 1.4 and Appendix 2) that are specific to the school setting.
Staying Home When Sick
Follow the strategy for Staying Home when Sick and Getting Tested from the CDC.
For both vaccinated and unvaccinated persons, follow the CDPH Isolation Guidance for those diagnosed with COVID-19.
Orange County’s Health Officer Orders are aligned with CDPH’s COVID-19 Public Health Guidance for K-12 Schools in California, 2022-23 School Year and are the best source for current recommendations. Based on current recommendations, there are no requirements to quarantine for exposed asymptomatic individuals.
Effective July 1, 2022, all individual student case reporting stops.
Schools are still required, as with other communicable diseases, to report outbreaks. The current definition of a COVID-19 outbreak is:
3 or more cases within a group (e.g. classroom, team, activity group) that test COVID-19 positive within 14 days.
COVID-19 outbreaks must be reported to OCHCA via the SPOT Intake Form using total aggregate numbers of cases in the outbreak at the time of reporting and the specific place in the location.
Reporting of staff/employees/volunteers testing positive for COVID-19 does not change. Refer to CalOSHA ETS for details. https://www.dir.ca.gov/dosh/coronavirus/COVID19FAQs.html
Considerations to address student mental and behavioral health: Schools are encouraged to implement strategies to address student mental and behavioral health. Schools should review guidance and resources available to support social and emotional learning and mental health resources for youth, including California's Healthy Minds, Thriving Kids Project.
Considerations for students with disabilities or other health care needs: When implementing this guidance, schools should carefully consider how to address the legal requirements related to provision of a free appropriate public education and requirements to reasonably accommodate disabilities, which continue to apply. For additional recommendations for students with disabilities or other health care needs, refer to guidance provided by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Considerations for higher risk activities: Certain activities that involve increased and forceful exhalation can pose increased risk for getting and spreading COVID-19, particularly if conducted indoors, in poorly ventilated settings, and/or without the use of masks. Accordingly, schools may consider implementing additional measures to mitigate transmission in these settings, including screening testing and vaccination, particularly during COVID-19 outbreaks or surges.
Considerations for large events at K-12 schools: Particularly during surges of COVID-19, school dances, large assemblies, and other school-based crowded events, especially those held indoors, all have the potential to cause substantial spread of COVID-19 within and beyond the school community. Prior to hosting large events, schools are encouraged to review the Safe and SMART Events Playbook (PDF) for mitigation strategies that should be considered.
Considerations for visitors to K-12 schools: Schools should not limit access for essential direct service providers who comply with school visitor policies due to a concern about mitigating spread of COVID-19.
Considerations for boarding schools and programs that may operate residential components: Participants in activities with a residential component are at increased risk of getting and spreading COVID-19 to one another. Accordingly, they should consider all the layered mitigation strategies described in this guidance, especially recommendations to get vaccinated and undergo testing for COVID-19 prior to returning to school following major breaks (e.g., summer, winter, spring).
Orange County schools and the OC Department of Education for the latest news and information visit the OCDE Newsroom.
Orange County Health Care Agency (OCHCA) strongly encourages all who are eligible to be vaccinated against COVID-19 as one of the best ways to protect yourself and others. Visit the OCHCA Vaccine Resources Site for more information.
Local information on testing and testing resources in Orange County can be found at the OCHCA Testing page.
REPORTING GUIDANCE/HOW TO REPORT COVID-19 OUTBREAKS IN ORANGE COUNTY
All Orange County schools must report COVID-19 Outbreaks to the Orange County Health Care Agency (OCHCA), the Local Health Jurisdiction (LHJ). The School Portal for Outbreak Tracking (SPOT) is a portion of the California’s public health case investigation and contact tracing data management system (CalCONNECT). SPOT is one of several tools that assist schools in complying with state and local reporting requirements.
The SPOT Intake Form is a place for Schools to report basic information about an exposure at their location. The information is sent to CalCONNECT, allowing the LHJ’s School Response Team (SRT) to review and use the information to initiate investigation and monitoring efforts.
When am I required to report COVID-19 outbreaks to OCHCA?
Per Title 17 section 2508; “It shall be the duty of anyone in charge of a public or private school, kindergarten, boarding school, or day nursery to report at once to the local health officer the presence or suspected presence of any of the communicable diseases.” This includes any provider of child or youth services.
*Report COVID-19 Outbreaks:
Click on the link below to learn how you can fulfill your reporting responsibilities electronically through SPOT:
School Administration Teams:
This is a password protected site containing school forms and resources regarding COVID-19 prevention. Click on the Portal link below. To request a password, please email CCICOVIDSchools@ochca.com