Plans for instruction during COVID-19 pandemic

Safely returning to school elements

Fall 2020 Distance Learning Plan

Accessible Text Version

Drivers for School Reopening


Models that support student and adult learning while maximizing engagement. Includes use of technology, including devices, to facilitate learning.

Community and Family Engagement

Active engagement of families and community partners to support learning.

Health and Wellness

Social emotional learning and supports for students and staff. Focus on health and hygiene.

Facilities and Operations

General guidelines for school and district operations, including transportation, cleaning and safety protocols.

Governance and Leadership

Coordination of services and policies with a lens toward equity and access.

COVID-19 Board Reports and Superintendent updates

COVID-19 School Reopening Checklist

Guiding Principles for Reopening for School Districts: Letter from SB County Public Health Department

Adapted from Santa Barbara County Public Health Department Guidelines for Schools and California Department of Public Health Guidelines for Schools


  • Establish and continue communication with local and State authorities to determine current disease levels and control measures in your community.
  • Evaluate whether and to what extent external community organizations can safely utilize the site and campus resources.
  • Develop a plan for the possibility of repeated closures of classes, groups or entire facilities when persons associated with the facility or in the community become ill.
  • Develop a plan to further support students with access and functional needs who may be at increased risk of becoming infected or having unrecognized illness due to COVID-19.


  • Consider portable handwashing stations throughout a site and near classrooms to minimize movement and congregations in bathrooms to the extent practicable.
  • Develop routines enabling students and staff to regularly wash their hands at staggered intervals.
  • Teach and reinforce use of cloth face coverings, masks, or face shields.
    • All staff should use cloth face coverings unless Cal/OSHA standards require respiratory protection.
    • Food service workers and staff in routine contact with the public (e.g., front office) should use gloves and facial coverings.
    • Students should be encouraged to use cloth face coverings.
    • Students and staff should be frequently reminded not to touch the face covering.
  • Teach and reinforce washing hands, avoiding contact with one’s eyes, nose, and mouth, and covering coughs and sneezes among students and staff.
    • Teach students and remind staff to use tissue to wipe their nose and to cough/sneeze inside a tissue or their elbow.
    • Students and staff should wash their hands before and after eating; after coughing or sneezing; after being outside; and before and after using the restroom.
    • Students and staff should wash their hands for 20 seconds with soap, rubbing thoroughly after application, and use paper towels (or single- use cloth towels) to dry hands thoroughly.
    • Staff should model and practice handwashing.
    • Students and staff should use fragrance-free hand sanitizer when handwashing is not practicable.
    • Ethyl alcohol-based hand sanitizers are preferred and should be used when there is the potential of unsupervised use by children.
    • Children under age 9 should use hand sanitizer under adult supervision.
  • Ensure adequate supplies to support healthy hygiene behaviors.


  • Consider suspending or modifying use of site resources that necessitate sharing or touching items.
  • Staff should clean and disinfect frequently-touched surfaces within school and on school buses at least daily and, as practicable, frequently throughout the day by trained custodial staff.
  • Buses should be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected daily and after transporting any individual who is exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Frequently touched surfaces in the school include, but are not limited to: doorhandles, light switches, sink handles, bathroom surfaces, tables, student desks, and chairs.
  • Limit use of shared playground equipment in favor of physical activities that require less contact with surfaces.
  • Limit sharing of objects and equipment, such as toys, games and art supplies to the extent practicable.
  • When choosing cleaning products, use those approved for use against COVID-19 on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-approved list “N” and follow product instructions.
  • Ensure safe and correct application of disinfectant and keep products away from students.
  • Ensure proper ventilation during cleaning and disinfecting.
  • Ensure that all water systems and features are safe to use after a prolonged facility shutdown to minimize the risk of Legionnaires’ disease and other diseases associated with water.


  • Arrival and Departure
    • Open windows and maximize space between students and between students and the driver on school buses where practicable.
    • Minimize contact at school between students, staff, families and the community at the beginning and end of the school day.
    • Stagger arrival and drop off-times and locations as consistently as practicable as to minimize scheduling challenges for families.
    • Designate routes for entry and exit, using as many entrances as feasible.
    • Consider using privacy boards or clear screens.
  • Classroom Space
    • Students should remain in the same space and in groups as small and consistent as practicable.
    • Minimize movement of students and teachers or staff as much as practicable.
    • Maximize space between seating and desks. Distance teacher and other staff desks at least six feet away from student desks.
    • Consider redesigning activities for smaller groups and rearranging furniture and play spaces to maintain separation.
    • Staff should develop instructions for maximizing spacing and ways to minimize movement in both indoor and outdoor spaces.
    • Implement procedures for turning in assignments to minimize contact.
  • Non-Classroom Spaces
    • Limit nonessential visitors, volunteers and activities involving other groups at the same time.
    • Limit communal activities where practicable.
    • Consider use of non-classroom space for instruction, including regular use of outdoor space, weather permitting.
    • Minimize congregate movement through hallways as much as practicable.
    • Serve meals in classrooms or outdoors instead of cafeterias or group dining rooms where practicable.
    • Consider holding recess activities in separated areas designated by class.

  • Keep each child’s belongings separated and in individually labeled storage containers, cubbies or areas.
  • Ensure adequate supplies to minimize sharing of high-touch materials to the extent practicable.
  • Avoid sharing electronic devices, clothing, toys, books and other games or learning aids.


  • Train all staff and provide educational materials to families in the following safety actions: enhanced sanitation practices, physical distancing guidelines and their importance, use of face coverings, screening practices, and COVID-19 specific symptom identification.
  • Consider conducting the training and education virtually.
  • Information should be provided to all staff and families in the school community on proper use,
    removal and washing of cloth face coverings.


  • Prevent discrimination against students who (or whose families) were or are diagnosed with COVID-19.
  • Actively encourage staff and students who are sick or who have recently had close contact with a person with COVID-19 to stay home.
  • Implement screening and other procedures for all staff and students entering the facility.
    • Conduct visual wellness checks of all students and take students’ temperature with a no-touch thermometer.
    • Ask all individuals about COVID-19 symptoms within the last 24 hours and whether anyone in their home has had COVID-19 symptoms or a positive test.
    • Document/track incidents of possible exposure and notify local health officials, staff and families immediately of any positive case of COVID-19 while maintaining confidentiality.
    • If a student is exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, staff should communicate with the parent/caregiver and refer to the student’s health history form and/or emergency card to identify if the student has a history of allergies.
  • Monitor staff and students throughout the day for signs of illness; send home students and staff with a fever of 100.4 degrees or higher, cough or other COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Policies should not penalize students and families for missing class.


  • Work with school administrators, nurses and other healthcare providers to identify an isolation room or area to separate anyone who exhibits symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Any students or staff exhibiting symptoms should immediately be required to wear a face covering and be required to wait in an isolation area until they can be transported home or to a healthcare facility.
  • Establish procedures to arrange for safe transport home or to a healthcare facility, as appropriate, when an individual is exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms.
  • For serious injury or illness, call 9-1-1 without delay.
  • Close off areas used by any sick person and do not use before cleaning and disinfection.
  • Advise sick staff members and students not to return until they have met CDC criteria to discontinue home isolation.
  • Ensure that students, including students with disabilities, have access to instruction when out of class.
  • Provide students, teachers and staff from higher transmission areas opportunities for telework, virtual learning, independent study and other options as feasible to reduce travel to schools in lower transmission areas and vice versa.


  • Monitor staff absenteeism and have a roster of trained back-up staff where available.
  • Monitor the types of illnesses and symptoms among your students and staff to help isolate them promptly.
  • Designate a staff liaison or liaisons to be responsible for responding to COVID-19 concerns.
  • Maintain communication systems that allow staff and families to self-report symptoms and receive prompt notifications of exposures and closures, while maintaining confidentiality.
  • Consult with local health departments if routine testing is being considered by a local educational agency.
  • Support staff and students who are at higher risk for severe illness or who cannot safely distance from household contacts at higher risk.


  • Check State and local orders and health department notices daily about transmission in the area or closures and adjust operations accordingly.
  • When a student, teacher or staff member tests positive for COVID-19 and had exposed others at the school, have a plan that implements the following steps:
    • With the local public health department, the appropriate school official may decide whether school closure is warranted, including the length of time necessary, based on the risk level within the specific community as determined by the local public health officer.
    • Give standard guidance for isolation at home for at least 14 days after close contact, the classroom or office where the patient was based will typically need to close temporarily as students or staff isolate.
    • Additional close contacts at school outside of a classroom should also isolate at home.
    • Additional areas of the school visited by the COVID-19 positive individual may also need to be closed temporarily.
    • Implement communication plans for school closure to include outreach to students, parents, teachers, staff and the community.
      o Include information for staff regarding labor laws, information regarding Disability Insurance, Paid Family Leave and Unemployment Insurance, as applicable for public local
      educational agencies.
    • Provide guidance to parents, teachers and staff reminding them of the importance of community physical distancing measures while a school is closed.
    • Develop a plan for continuity of education.
    • Maintain regular communications with the local public health department.