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SDCCS adheres to strict guidelines in accordance with guidance from the CDC, San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency, and California Department of Public Health.
Current Understanding of Virus
Symptoms most commonly include: fever with cough or shortness of breath; Some people have fewer or no symptoms at all. Headache, sore throat, and runny nose also occur with this virus.
Children may also present with no fever, mild diarrhea and vomiting. Children have fewer symptoms and problems.
Spread is most likely from droplets (cough and sneezing)
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) considers this a serious public health threat, but with health risk from this virus to be low at this time.
It is not yet known whether people carrying the virus, but have no symptoms, can spread the virus to others.
Symptoms of COVID-19 may appear in as few as 2 days, or as long as 14 days, after exposure.
Most people with this infection will recover on their own. There is no specific treatment for novel coronavirus infection yet.
For patients who are more severely ill, hospitals can provide supportive care.
What are Schools Doing?
SDCCS will follow CDC guidance, as well as the guidance from public health departments at the State and County levels to keep our student and staff populations safe and healthy.
Children have not been shown to be a high-risk group for serious illness from this virus and the illness has been very mild among children. Beyond providing education, public schools are an access point for critical social services for thousands of families. For these reasons, in San Diego the benefits of keeping schools open at this time outweigh the benefits of school closures. The plan to keep all schools open could change with new information as school district leaders continue to work with public health and state officials on this.
Current District Policy
1. All children and staff members with respiratory symptoms or fever (>100 F / >37.8 C) should remain home (from school and other activities) until they have had no fever for 24 hours, without fever medication and respiratory symptoms are gone. If respiratory symptoms are not completely gone but they are improving and one week has passed since onset of illness, the student can return to school.
2. Students and staff members who present at school with fever and/or symptoms of a respiratory infection should be sent home.
Students who typically have coughs from underlying, known diseases (like asthma, allergies) may remain if there is no new symptom. Claims by parents that their child’s respiratory symptoms are typical for them (e.g., allergies) and are not new signs of an infection should be strongly considered as reasons to permit students to remain in school.
Until the person leaves school, you may place a surgical mask on that student or staff member if available and if tolerated.
If possible, keep that person isolated (students must still be visible and supervised by a staff member); otherwise try to keep a 3 to 6 foot distance between that student (or staff member) and others.
Persons excluded from school or work for fever may return to school when; (a) they have been free of fever for at least 24 hours (without the use of fever reducing medications). In addition, (b) all respiratory symptoms must be fully resolved OR seven days have passed since the onset of symptoms and the individual’s symptoms have been improving (whichever is earlier).
Persons excluded from school or work for respiratory symptoms and who have not developed a fever may return to school when (a) all respiratory symptoms are fully resolved or (b) seven days have passed since the onset of symptoms and the individual’s symptoms have been improving (whichever is earlier).
Notes from physicians allowing students or staff to return to school will not shorten the duration of exclusion based on the policies bulleted above. For that reason, parents are encouraged not to ask students’ doctors for notes that override school exclusions, after they have already experienced new symptoms of respiratory infections.
3. Exclude students and staff members who have a travel history over the course of the last 14 days to an area identified by the CDC as Level 3 Travel Health Notice. This list can be found at: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices
As of date of this version, these countries are: China, Iran, Italy, South Korea (Japan is Level 2, travelers from Japan are not included in this restriction at this time). Check CDC website for most up to date information.
Exclude these people from school for 14 days, beginning the day they departed that country.
Schools are advised to find methods to provide educational support for students who are at home for these weeks, so that they do not fall behind. These students or staff members should stay at home and limit contact with anyone outside the home.
4. Healthy members of a household who did not travel, but where someone else from that household returned from CDC Level 3 country (https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices) are not required to stay away from school as long as all members of that household are healthy (i.e., no new respiratory symptoms and no fever).
5. Students and staff members who have visited one of these countries within the past two weeks should be advised to call their doctors for instructions if they have fever or symptoms of respiratory infection.
6. Students should not be excluded from school or any school activities based on race or country of origin.
7. A student or staff member who has been in close contact with a person with a laboratory-confirmed case of 2019 novel coronavirus over past two weeks will be excluded from school until cleared by the local public health department.
8. If any student or staff member at school is suspected to have the virus (i.e., becomes a County Health Department “patient under investigation”; or “PUI”) for COVID-19, the school district will work with public health authorities who will collaborate with that student’s or staff member’s own physician to guide further restrictions and public notifications.
9. As a reminder, all student and staff health information is confidential and cannot be shared with other students or with school site staff. Confidential health information can be shared only with School District health team leaders and with the County Public Health Department.
10. When confirmed COVID-19 cases are reported to school officials (confirmed cases of students, school employees or their household contacts), the school site should assign one person to notify central nursing office.
11. Any disease notification letters sent from school to the general school community and to schools’ parent community will always be cleared first with the District’s health leaders, and be done in consultation with the Public Health Department.
12. The directive from the California Department of Public Health on gatherings is:
Large gatherings that include 250 people or more should be postponed or canceled. This includes gatherings such as concerts, conferences, and professional, college, and school sporting events.
Smaller gatherings held in venues that do not allow social distancing of six feet per person should be postponed or canceled. This includes gatherings in crowded auditoriums, rooms or other venues.
Gatherings of individuals who are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19 should be limited to no more than 10 people.
A “gathering” is any event or convening that brings together people in a single room or single space at the same time, such as an auditorium, stadium, arena, large conference room, meeting hall, cafeteria, or any other indoor or outdoor space.
The major “gathering” exception is that students in classrooms, playgrounds, and eating areas, where keeping people 6 feet apart is not feasible, are still permitted.
These cancellations and postponements apply to all non-essential professional, social, and community gatherings regardless of their sponsor. This applies to civic rentals of school facilities. Gatherings that do not meet the aforementioned criteria should only be conducted when they are essential – that is, if the activity is essential and could not be postponed or achieved without gathering, meaning that some other means of communication could not be used to conduct the essential function.
The above restrictions are going to apply until April 24, 2020, until further notice.
13. Strategies to Consider For Managing Essential Large Gatherings in Schools:
Field Trips and School Camp: Cancel if they are not essential. If essential, still cancel if there will be more than 50 people in attendance in one space at any one time.
School Lunch and Recess: Arrange for variable lunch and recess times, as feasible, so that as few classes as possible are intermingling during these periods. On rainy days, if staffing can be arranged, have some classes eat in their classrooms, to avoid crowded cafeterias.
Sporting events: Allow teams to play in competition, but restrict audiences by sending notices to parents and other fans that gatherings are being curtailed at this time. For those who show up, post notices that they must sit 6 feet apart and warn them that those who are vulnerable to severe symptoms from COVID-19 should go home.
Staff meetings: Make use of conference calls when possible. Professional development that cannot be postponed, should be held in small groups and in rooms where attendees can sit 6 feet apart.
14. Students with underlying health conditions that make them vulnerable for serious disease if infected with the COVID-19 virus should confer with their own doctors on school attendance. Parents of children without such conditions may decide to keep their child at home. Parents’ decision should be honored during this period when social distancing is being enforced.
15. Staff with underlying health conditions that make them vulnerable for serious disease if infected with the COVID-19 virus should confer with their own doctors on school attendance.
Basic Prevention of Virus Spread
Make sure all family members are up-to-date with their flu shots.
Promote basic hygiene:
Any coughing or sneezing should be directed into one’s sleeve (inside elbow) or inside shirt, rather than into hands or the air.
Wash hands after using and handling used tissues, after blowing nose, before/after eating, and after toilet use.
Wash for 20 seconds with soap, rub between fingers and under nails; and then rinse and dry. Use alcohol (60%+) hand gel if sinks are not readily available.
Avoid rubbing your own eyes, nose and mouth.
Schools should encourage hand washing (by students and staff) through education, scheduled time for handwashing, and the provision of adequate supplies
Do not share utensils, cups etc.
Stay home when sick.
Avoid contact with those who are sick.
Wearing of masks in public is not recommended for Americans by the CDC nor by our local public health department. It will be discouraged in schools. Handwashing is considered the best protection from infectious diseases.
School District Plans if Coronavirus Begins Spreading Locally
School district health team and administration already work collaboratively with the San Diego County Health and Human Services Department (our public health department). School district will follow all directives to reduce exposure in school. It is the public health department that decides on: quarantines, school closures, and exclusion policy, not the School District.