Figuring Out how To Get Our
Kids back In Coalinga Schools
COVID-19 and Reopening In-Person Instruction Framework
& Public Health Guidance for K-12 Schools in California,
2020-2021 School YearDownload
Nearly every parent is anxious to get their children back into school. Yes, there are a few who remain more concerns about health issues and want to continue learning at home. There are also some teachers who are exactly chomping at the bit to return to the classroom either.
But whichever side of the fence you’re on, most residents may not realize the complex issues facing Coalinga-Huron Unified School District. They can’t just decide that it’s time to reopen. They have to follow guidelines and restrictions as presented in the state’s plan.
One of the biggest challenges facing CHUSD is the multitude of students needing to be transported to school. With extreme limitations on the number of students allowed to ride on each bus, the travel alone is nearly impossible to complete. Parents have been polled to see how many can provide transportation for their children to get to school. Many have said they can manage it. But there are still scores who cannot. CHUSD covers thousands of miles of road each year; far more than the average district.
But that isn’t the only hurdle. To understand concerns more thoroughly, read through a few pages of California’s guidelines or download the whole document. Feel free to voice concerns, ask questions, or just talk to someone at the CHUSD offices about the situation. District Office number is 559.935.7500. The Welcome Center is 559.935.7600. The district website is chusd.org.
Email comments you would like to be heard at the board meeting to CHUSDBoardMeetingPublicComment@chusd.org. You should include the topic and your name along with where you live.
Here are a few pages of the state’s outline. You may click on the link above to access the document in its entirety.
CRITERIA TO REOPEN FOR IN-PERSON INSTRUCTION
Red, Orange, and Yellow Tiers.
Consistent with the July 17 Framework, schools may reopen at all grades if they are located in counties in the Red, Orange or Yellow Tiers under the Blueprint for a Safer Economy. Operations once reopened must adhere to the updated Sector Guidance for School and School-Based Program reflected in this document (see below). Schools that reopen under this paragraph must complete and post a CSP to their website homepage before reopening for in-person instruction, as described in the CSP Posting and Submission Requirements for In-Person Instruction section.
Purple Tier. Schools may not reopen for grades 7-12 if the county is in Purple Tier. Subject to the limitation in the bullet immediately below, schools serving grades K-6 may reopen for in-person instruction in the Purple Tier, including during a State of California Regional Stay at Home Order, if they complete and post a CSP to their website homepage and submit the CSP to their local health officer (LHO) and the State Safe Schools for All Team and there are no identified deficiencies, as described in the Covid-19 Safety Plan (CSP) Posting and Submission Requirements for In-Person Instruction section below.
• K-6 schools in counties in Purple Tier with CR>25: Schools serving students in grades K-6 may not reopen for in-person instruction in counties with adjusted CR above 25 cases per 100,000 population per day. They may post and submit a CSP, but they are not permitted to resume in-person instruction until the adjusted CR has been less than 25 per 100,000 population per day for at least 5 consecutive days. This case rate reflects recommendations from the Harvard Global Health Institute analysis of safe school reopening policy. Please find additional information on how the adjusted CR is calculated here.
Recognizing that re-opening for in-person instruction takes time to routinize and improve safety, and that some schools may have already been conducting in-person learning successfully and had time to optimize all their policies and procedures to support minimal disease transmission on-site and detect new cases, schools who have already opened, as defined above, with minimal or no in-school transmission, may remain open and may consider increasing testing per CDPH supported testing framework.
These new criteria and the requirements below replace the Elementary Education Waiver (issued August 3) that allowed LHOs to grant a waiver to school applicants for grades K-6 if specific criteria were satisfied. All waivers approved prior to this date remain valid.
COVID-19 SAFETY PLAN (CSP) FOR IN-PERSON INSTRUCTION The COVID-19 Safety plan (CSP) consists of two parts:
(1) the Cal/OSHA COVID19 Prevention Program (CPP) and
(2) the COVID-19 School Guidance Checklist.
Cal/OSHA Prevention Program (CPP) On December 1, 2020, Cal/OSHA’s Emergency Temporary Standards requiring employers to protect workers from hazards related to COVID-19 went into effect. The regulations require that employers, including schools, establish and implement a written CPP to address COVID-19 health hazards, correct unsafe or unhealthy conditions, and provide face coverings. Employers can also create a written CPP by incorporating elements of this program into their existing Injury and Illness Prevention Program (IIPP), if desired. Cal/OSHA has posted FAQs and a one-page fact sheet on the regulation, as well as a model COVID-19 prevention program.
COVID-19 SAFETY PLAN (CSP) POSTING AND SUBMISSION REQUIREMENTS FOR IN-PERSON INSTRUCTION
The Tiers from the Blueprint for a Safer Economy Framework inform the process needed for submission of CSPs for maintaining and/or resuming in-person instruction as described below and in Table 1.
Yellow (Tier 4/Minimal), Orange (Tier 3/Moderate), and Red (Tier 2/Substantial):
• For schools that have already reopened and are located in a county that is in the Yellow, Orange, or Red Tier, the LEA must post the CSP publicly on its website homepage by February 1, 2021.
• For those schools that have not reopened, and the county has been in the Purple Tier, the county must be in the Red Tier for 5 consecutive days before the school may reopen.
• For schools that have not reopened, the LEA must complete and post the CSP publicly on its website homepage at least 5 days prior to providing in-person instruction.
• While developing and prior to posting a CSP, it is strongly recommended that the LEA (or equivalent) consult with labor, parent, and community organizations. Examples of community organizations include school-based non-profit organizations and local organizations that support student enrichment, recreation, after-school programs, health services, early childhood services, or provide family support.
Purple (Tier 1/Widespread):
• For schools that have already reopened and are located in a county or LHD that is in the Purple Tier, the LEA must post the CSP publicly on its website homepage by February 1, 2021.
• Schools serving grades K-6 not already open, may reopen for in-person instruction if the LEA completes and posts a CSP to its website homepage and submits the CSP to their LHD and the State Safe Schools for All Team and does not receive notification of a finding that the CSP is deficient within 7 business days of submission.
Under these circumstances, schools serving grades K-6 may only reopen for their K-6 grade students, even if their school serves non-K-6 grade students (e.g., a 6-8 school).
While developing and prior to submitting a CSP, the LEA must consult with labor, parent, and community organizations. Examples of community organizations include school-based non-profit organizations and local organizations that support student enrichment, recreation, after-school programs, health services, early childhood services or provide family support.
The COVID-19 School Guidance Checklist requires that the LEA provide evidence of consultation with labor, parent, and community organizations.
▪ The LEA must sign an attestation confirming the names and dates that the organizations were consulted. If school staff are not represented by a labor organization, then the applicant must describe the process by which it consulted with school staff.
The LEA must confirm publication of the CSP on the website of the LEA.
The LEA must submit the CSP on behalf of all schools within their direct administrative authority, with site-specific precautions noted within the CSP to address considerations unique to specific school sites, as applicable. For example, a school district must submit a consolidated CSP for every school under its direct administrative authority, and must outline site-specific precautions insofar as there are features unique to the site that raise greater risks of COVID-19 transmission.
If a group of private, faith-based, or charter schools within a single county are subject to the same governing authority (e.g., an archdiocese, charter management organization, etc.), the governing authority may submit the CSP on behalf of those schools, but must address site-specific considerations consistent with the bullet above. Otherwise, independent, private, faith-based, or charter schools that are affiliated with a broader network should post and submit the CSP for each school.
LHDs and the State Safe Schools for All Team have 7 business days to provide feedback to the LEA regarding deficiencies in the CSP.
The school may reopen on the eighth business day after submitting the CSP if the LHD and/or State Safe Schools for All Team do not provide notification that the CSP is unsafe within 7 business days of submission.
If the LHD and/or State Safe Schools for All Team identify any deficiencies during the 7-business-day review period, the LEA will receive feedback on what they need to improve in order to be able to reopen for in-person instruction.
After the LEA responds to feedback and re-submits the plan, the entity that identified the deficiency will have 7 business days to review revisions.
If the LHD has noted a deficiency in a submitted CSP and has required a response prior to opening for in-person instruction, the LHD must notify the State Safe Schools for All Team.
The school may reopen on eighth business day after submitting the revisions if the LHD and the State Safe Schools for All Team do not provide additional feedback.
• As noted above, schools serving grades K-6 may not reopen for in-person instruction in jurisdictions with CR above 25 cases per 100,000 population per day.
While not required, LEAs are strongly encouraged to post on their website, along with the CSP, the detailed plans describing how they will meet the requirements outlined in the CSP elements. This can provide transparency to school community members making decisions about participation in in-person learning. The email address for submission of the CSP to the State Safe Schools for All Team is: K12csp@cdph.ca.gov.
Cohorting Guidance for Specialized Services
This updated guidance does not modify or supersede the applicability of the Cohorting Guidance to school settings. More information regarding the minimum health and safety guidelines that must be followed to provide in-person services and supervision to children and youth in cohorts is set forth in the Cohorting Guidance, which applies across multiple sectors serving youth, including childcare and schools that are not reopened for in-person instruction.
The stable groups described in the Cohorting Guidance, and described below in the Stable Group Guidance decreases opportunities for exposure to or transmission of the virus; reduces the numbers of exposed individuals if COVID-19 is introduced into the cohort; facilitates more efficient contact tracing in the event of a positive case; and allows for targeted testing and quarantine of a single cohort instead of potential schoolwide closures in the event of a positive case or cluster of cases.
The Cohorting Guidance provides a way for schools not yet permitted to reopen under state and local public health directives or that have not yet reopened even though permitted to reopen to provide in-person supervision, instruction, targeted support services, and facilitation of distance learning for some students, especially high-need student groups and students who may not be able to benefit fully from distance learning offerings.
Existing state law requires public schools to provide in-person instruction to the greatest extent possible (Education Code section 45304(b)). State law further requires that distance learning ensure access to connectivity and devices that allow students to participate in the educational program and complete assigned work.
In addition, state law requires that students with disabilities and English learners receive educational and related services to which they are entitled under the law, among other requirements (Education Code section 45303(b) (1), (4) & (5)). The Cohorting Guidance therefore provides an important avenue for schools that have not yet reopened under this guidance to provide supervision, instruction and support to small cohorts of students to ensure students receive necessary services even while students are generally participating in distance learning.
ADDITIONAL REOPENING CONSIDERATIONS
Availability of Distance Learning for Students Who Request It. Schools should continue to offer distance learning for students who request it. Thoughtful, Phased Implementation. K-12 school sites should employ a phased-in model as a part of their reopening plan. Phased reopening plans for in-person instruction may include, but are not limited to:
• Shifting from a full distance learning model to hybrid.
• Gradually allowing for specified grades and/or a percentage of each grade to resume in-person learning, beginning with the youngest and most disproportionately impacted students.
• Allowing for a gradual number of students, at a specified capacity, per grade or school site. If a school with a phased-in model has opened for in-person instruction, and the county changes to the Purple Tier or to a CR>25, the school may continue the phased reopening.
Staff Access to Campus if Not Reopened for In-Person Instruction. Teachers, school and support staff, and administrators may return to work physically without students on site while counties are not open for in-person instruction, provided that those on site follow the school’s COVID-19 Safety Plan consistent with Cal/OSHA regulations.
Residential components of boarding schools are to remain closed (with the exception of residential components of boarding schools that are currently operating with the permission of local health authorities, and those serving wards or dependents of the juvenile courts) regardless of the Tier status of their county until further guidance is issued. The non-residential components of boarding schools (e.g., in-person instruction for day students) are governed by the same guidelines as other K-12 schools.
School Reopening Guidance
All guidance, as schools plan and prepare to resume in-person instruction, should be implemented as outlined in the In-Person School Reopening section, including the development of a CSP.
LAYERS OF SAFETY: INFECTION MITIGATION STRATEGIES
A key goal for safe schools is to reduce or eliminate in-school transmission. A helpful conceptual framing as schools plan for and implement safety measures for in-person instruction, is the layering of mitigation strategies. Each strategy (face coverings, stable groups, distancing, etc.) decreases the risk of in-school transmission; but no one layer is 100% effective. It is the combination of layers that are most effective and have been shown to decrease transmissions.
As schools plan for reopening for in-person instruction and as they continue to work on operations once open, it may be helpful to understand the mitigation strategies with stronger evidence supporting their use. We have ordered the list below such that the interventions known at this time to be more effective in reducing the risk of transmission appear before the ones that are helpful but may have a potentially smaller effect or have less evidence of efficacy. Of note, though scientific comparative assessments are limited, the top three items are likely of similar importance:
1. Face coverings.
2. Stable groups.
3. Physical distancing.
4. Adequate ventilation.
5. Hand hygiene.
6. Symptom and close contact exposure screening, with exclusion from school for staff or students with symptoms or with confirmed close contact.
7. Surveillance or screening testing. Frequent disinfection, which was thought at the beginning of the pandemic to be a key safety component, can pose a health risk to children and students due to the chemicals used and has proven to have limited to no impact on COVID19 transmission.
Disinfection with specified products (see Cleaning and Disinfection section), is recommended for schools after a case has been identified in the school, in the spaces where the case spent a large proportion of their time (e.g., classroom, or administrator’s office if an administrator). Please see Cleaning and Disinfection section for additional details.
Of note, adults (>18 years old) appear to be more infectious overall than children, making staff-to-staff transmission an important focus for safety efforts. A specific situation that has resulted in exposure and transmission among staff in multiple schools is eating and drinking indoors without being physically distant (for instance, in break rooms or common areas).
Specific messaging and support to staff to prevent this scenario are strongly recommended. The following sections outline specific actions school sites should take to keep students and staff safe.
GENERAL MEASURES Establish and continue communication with local and state authorities to determine current disease levels and control measures in your community.
• Consult with your LHO, or designated public health staff, who are best positioned to monitor and provide advice on local conditions. A directory can be found here.
• Collaborate with other schools and school partners in your region, including the county office of education.
• Access State Technical Assistance resources available for schools and for LHDs to support safe and successful in-person instruction, available on the Safe Schools for All Hub.
• Regularly review updated guidance from state agencies, including CDPH and California Department of Education. Per Cal/OSHA requirements noted above, establish a written CPP at every facility, perform a comprehensive risk assessment of all work areas and work tasks, and designate a person at each school to implement the plan.
Face coverings must be used in accordance with CDPH guidelines unless a person is exempt as explained in the guidelines.
• Information contained in the CDPH Guidance for the Use of Face Coverings should be provided to staff and families of students. The face covering guidance applies to all settings, including schools. The guidance discusses the circumstances in which face coverings must be worn and the exemptions, as well as any policies, work rules, and practices employers have adopted to ensure the use of face coverings.
• Teach and reinforce use of face coverings, or in limited instances, face shields with drapes.
• Students and staff should be frequently reminded not to touch the face covering and to wash their hands frequently.
• Information should be provided to all staff and families in the school community on proper use, removal, and washing of cloth face coverings.
• Training should also include policies on how people who are exempted from wearing a face covering will be addressed.
• Students in all grade levels K-12 are required to wear face coverings at all times, while at school, unless exempted. o A cloth face covering or face shield should be removed for meals, snacks, naptime, or when it needs to be replaced. When a cloth face covering is temporarily removed, it should be placed in a clean, safe area, clearly marked with the student’s name and date, until it needs to be put on again.
• Participants in youth and adult sports should wear face coverings when participating in the activity, even with heavy exertion as tolerated, both indoors and outdoors.
• The face covering guidance recognizes that there are some people who cannot wear a face covering for a number of different reasons. People are exempted from the requirement if they are under age 2, have a medical or mental health condition or disability that would impede them from properly wearing or handling a face covering, those with a communication disability, or when it would inhibit communication with a person who is hearing impaired. Those with communication disabilities or caregivers of those with communication disabilities can consider wearing a clear mask or cloth mask with a clear panel when appropriate.
• Persons exempted from wearing a face covering due to a medical condition, as confirmed by school district health team and therapists, must wear a non-restrictive alternative, such as a face shield with a drape on the bottom edge, as long as their condition permits it.
• Schools must develop protocols to provide a face covering to students who inadvertently fail to bring a face covering to school to prevent unnecessary exclusions.
• Schools should offer alternative educational opportunities for students who are excluded from campus because they will not wear a face covering.
• In order to comply with this guidance, schools must exclude students from campus if they are not exempt from wearing a face covering under CDPH guidelines and refuse to wear one provided by the school.
• Employers must provide and ensure staff use face coverings and all other required personal protective equipment in accordance with CDPH guidelines.
• The California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (CalOES) and CDPH are and will be working to support procurement and distribution of face coverings and needed personal protective equipment to schools. Additional information can be found here.
• The Department of General Services negotiated statewide master contracts, which LEAs may leverage to reduce costs and secure supply chains. Additional information can be found here.
• Face covering policies apply on school buses and any vehicle affiliated with the LEA used to transport students, staff, or teachers to and/or from a school site.
• Classrooms, school buses, and shared school office spaces used by persons who cannot tolerate face coverings are less safe for others who share that environment. Schools may want to consider notifying others who share spaces with unmasked or sub-optimally masked individuals about the environment.
Also consider employing several additional mitigation strategies (or fortifying existing mitigation strategies) to optimize safety. These may include increasing the frequency of asymptomatic tests offered to unmasked or sub-optimally masked individuals, employing longer social distances, installing clear physical barriers, reducing duration of time in shared environments, and opting for either outdoor or highly ventilated indoor educational spaces, as possible.
• All staff must use face coverings in accordance with CDPH guidelines unless Cal/OSHA standards require respiratory protection.
• For staff who come into routine contact with others, CDPH recommends the use of disposable 3-ply surgical masks, which are more effective than cloth face coverings.
• In limited situations where a face covering cannot be used for pedagogical or developmental reasons, (e.g., communicating or assisting young children or those with special needs) a face shield with a drape (per CDPH guidelines) can be used instead of a face covering while in the classroom as long as the wearer maintains physical distance from others. Staff must return to wearing a face covering outside of the classroom.
• Workers or other persons handling or serving food must use gloves in addition to face coverings.
• Employers should consider where disposable glove use may be helpful to supplement frequent handwashing or use of hand sanitizer; examples are for workers who are screening others for symptoms or handling commonly touched items.
STABLE GROUP GUIDANCE CONSIDERATIONS BY GRADE LEVEL
Stable groups provide a key mitigation layer in schools. A stable group is a group with fixed membership that stays together without mixing with any other groups for any activities. Guidance from other agencies, including the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), sometimes refers to them as “cohorts”1 or “pods.” Implementing stable groups of students and staff reduces the numbers of exposed individuals if COVID-19 is introduced into the group, decreases opportunities for exposure to or transmission of the virus; facilitates more efficient contact tracing in the event of a positive case; and allows for targeted testing and quarantine of a small group instead of potential schoolwide closures in the event of a positive case or cluster of cases.
How can an elementary school create stable groups?
• Students can be placed into stable groups that stay together all day with their core teacher (and any aide or student teacher who is present). If there are counselors or teachers of electives, they should ideally be assigned to only one group or conduct their classes / counseling virtually. 1 The CDC’s use of the term is different from the use of “cohort” within California’s guidance.
“Cohort” is specifically defined in the Cohort Guidance as a group no larger than 16 individuals. To avoid any confusion, this guidance uses “stable group” instead of “cohort” for this concept.
• Students should eat lunch and go to recess with their group at times that are staggered and separated from other groups.
• There are different approaches to organizing stable groups. Students can be divided into smaller groups that attend school in person on a rotating schedule. Here are a few examples:
A group of students comes to school for in-person instruction on Monday and Tuesday. Another attends on Thursday and Friday.
On the alternating days, they learn remotely.
Some LEAs or schools have students attend school in-person during alternating weeks.
Other LEAs or schools have one group of students attend school in person in the morning and another group attend school in person in the afternoon. These approaches create even smaller groups that stay together and do not mix with one another. Electives or counseling can be conducted virtually to limit the number of staff in direct contact with any given stable group.
How can a middle or high schools school create stable groups?
• Students can be placed into groups that remain together all day during in-person instruction. Middle or high school groups are often larger than elementary school groups. Because middle and high school curricula differ from elementary school curricula, teachers are not usually assigned to one stable group of students, creating an opportunity for mixing across stable groups or students. The following guidance provides examples of approaches to minimizing crossover of staff across stable groups of students.
• The CDC guidance notes that schools may keep a single group together in one classroom and have educators rotate between groups, or have smaller groups move together in staggered passing schedules to other rooms they need to use (e.g., science labs) without allowing students or staff to mix with others from distinctive groups.
• Teachers and supports staff from different content areas can work in teams that share students, preferably in a dedicated space, separate from others. For example: math, science, English, and history teachers might work as a team with a set group of students they share.
• When combined with block schedules that reduce the number of courses students take in any one day, the number of educators and students who interact can be minimized further.
• It is also possible to keep students in one stable group that stays together with one or two instructors who teach them directly part of the day and support their instruction from others who teach them virtually during other parts of the day.
• Electives can be offered virtually or organized so that no group of students takes more than one elective in a term and the elective teachers do not work with more than one or two groups.
• Stable groups could switch schedules or even membership after a break at the quarter, trimester, or semester in ways that support students being able to take additional classes without substantial group mixing.
• The school year can be divided into even smaller time units – 4 to 8 weeks for example – in which students study one or two subjects intensively, completing all of the work they might normally have completed in a semester or a year. They stay in stable groups with only 1 or 2 teachers during this time. At the end of unit, they switch schedules and groups to take 1 or 2 other courses, and so on throughout the year.
• Additional examples of approaches to creating stable groups of students that limit the risk of transmission across large groups of students are available here.
• Schedule for Access and Inclusion: The construction of stable groups can increase or decrease equity or segregation across the school campus, so consider how to support inclusion and access for all student populations as you organize students for learning.
• Schedules as Tools for Physical Distancing: To the extent possible, schools should think about how to reconfigure the use of bell schedules to streamline foot traffic and maintain practicable physical distancing during passing times and at the beginning and end of the school day. Create staggered passing times when students must move between rooms minimize congregated movement through hallways as much as is practicable.
• Restructure Electives: Elective teachers who move in and out of stable groups can become points of exposure for themselves and the students they work with. Some models have made elective teachers part of middle and high school stable groups, while others have used them only for remote instruction. Other options include ensuring elective teachers maintain longer distance from students (e.g., 12 feet).
IMPLEMENTING DISTANCING INSIDE AND OUTSIDE THE CLASSROOM
Arrival and Departure
• Maximize space between students and between students and the driver on school buses and open windows to the greatest extent practicable. Two windows on a bus should be opened fully at a minimum.
• Minimize contact at school between students, staff, families and the community at the beginning and end of the school day. Prioritize minimizing contact between adults at all times.
• Stagger arrival and drop off-times and locations as consistently as practicable to minimize scheduling challenges for families.
• Designate routes for entry and exit, using as many entrances as feasible. Put in place other protocols to limit direct contact between people as much as practicable.
• Ensure each school bus is equipped with extra unused face coverings for students who may have inadvertently failed to bring one. Classroom Space
• Maximize space between seating and desks. Distance teacher and other staff desks at least 6 feet away from student and other staff desks. Distance student chairs at least 6 feet away from one another, except where 6 feet of distance is not possible after a good-faith effort has been made. Upon request by the local health department and/or State Safe Schools Team, the superintendent should be prepared to demonstrate that good-faith effort, including an effort to consider all outdoor/indoor space options and hybrid learning models. Please reference Figures 1 and 2 for examples of adequate and inadequate spacing. Under no circumstances should distance between student chairs be less than 4 feet. If 6 feet of distance is not possible, it is recommended to optimize ventilation and consider using other separation techniques such as Figure 1. Classroom with adequate spacing between students 22 partitions between students or desks, or arranging desks in a way that minimizes face-to-face contact.
• Short-term exposures of less than 6 feet between students and staff are permitted (e.g., a teacher assisting a student one-on-one), but the duration should be minimized and masks must be worn.
• 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 that are easy for students to understand and are developmentally appropriate.
• Prioritize the use and maximization of outdoor space for activities where possible.
• Activities where there is increased likelihood for transmission from contaminated exhaled aerosols such as band and choir practice and performances are permitted outdoors only, provided that precautions such as physical distancing and use of face coverings are implemented to the maximum extent (see below in Non-classroom spaces).
• Consider using cleanable privacy boards or clear screens to increase and enforce separation between staff and students. Non-Classroom Spaces
• Limit nonessential visitors, volunteers and activities involving other groups at the same time. School tours are considered a non-essential activity and increase the risk of in-school transmission.
• Limit communal activities. Alternatively, stagger use, properly space occupants and clean in between uses.
• Consider use of non-classroom space for instruction, including regular use of outdoor space, weather permitting. For example, consider part-day instruction outside.
• Minimize congregate movement through hallways as much as practicable. For example, establish more ways to enter and exit a campus, create staggered passing times when necessary or when students cannot stay in one room and use visual reminders on the floor Figure 2.
Classroom without adequate spacing between students that students can follow to enable physical distancing while passing and waiting in line. In addition, schools can consider eliminating the use of lockers, which can become congregating areas.
• Serve meals outdoors or in classrooms instead of cafeterias or group dining rooms where practicable. Where cafeterias or group dining rooms must be used, keep students together in their stable groups, ensure physical distancing, hand hygiene before and after eating, and consider assigned seating. If indoor meal times are paired with recess or outdoor time, consider having half of a stable group of students eat while the other half is outdoors and then switch. Serve individually plated or bagged meals. Avoid sharing of foods and utensils and buffet or familystyle meals.
• Consider holding recess activities in separated areas designated by group.
• School athletic activities and sports should follow the CDPH Outdoor and Indoor Youth and Adult Recreational Guidance. Note that risk of infection transmission increases for indoor activities; indoor sports are higher risk than outdoor sports due to reduced ventilation. And transmission risk increases with greater exertion levels; greater exertion increases the rate of breathing and the quantity of air that is inhaled and exhaled with every breath.
• Outdoor singing and band practice are permitted, provided that precautions such as physical distancing and mask wearing are implemented to the maximum extent possible. Playing of wind instruments (any instrument played by the mouth, such as a trumpet or clarinet) is strongly discouraged.
School officials, staff, parents, and students should be aware of the increased likelihood for transmission from exhaled aerosols during singing and band practice, and physical distancing beyond 6 feet is strongly recommended for any of these activities.
• Ensure sufficient ventilation in all school classrooms and shared workspaces per American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) guidance on ventilation.
Contact a mechanical engineer, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) design professional, or mechanical contractor in order to evaluate your ventilation system in regards to the ASHRAE guidance.
If opening windows poses a safety or health risk (e.g., by allowing pollen in or exacerbating asthma symptoms) to persons in the facility, consider alternatives. For example, maximize central air filtration for HVAC systems by using filters with a minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV) of at least 13.
Consider installing portable high-efficiency air cleaners, upgrading the building’s air filters to the highest efficiency possible, and making other modifications to increase the quantity of outside air and ventilation in classrooms, offices and other spaces.
If not able to properly ventilate indoor instructional spaces, outdoor instruction is preferred (use caution in poor air quality conditions).
• Ventilation considerations are also important on school buses; use open windows as much as possible to improve airflow.
• Specific practices to avoid:
Classrooms or buses with no ventilation. o Classrooms or buses with increased airflow across occupants (e.g., air conditioners or fans blowing into the classroom