The COVID-19 virus continues to spread throughout Tulare County, impacting our schools to return to in-person classroom instruction. Tulare County Public Health is assisting schools as they plan and develop protocols for returning to the classroom once it’s safe to do so.
Ensuring a safe workplace is crucial to preventing the spread of COVID-19. The Public Health Branch has provided tools to support workplaces in creating a safe environment. California enacted legislation AB 685 to put infection prevention regulations in place related to COVID-19. This involves informing the Public Health Branch when 3 or more positive cases occur within a 14-day period. Visit Tulare County Public Health - California AB 685 Enhanced Enforcement and Employer Reporting Requirements Webpage.
UPDATE for April 8, 2021:
Be advised that recent CDC guidance and public health recommendations regarding fully vaccinated persons do not apply to California workplaces at this time. As employers in non-healthcare settings, schools still need to abide by the Cal/OSHA COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS). Schools should review the ETS to ensure compliance with all applicable Cal/OSHA standards; failure to comply may result in a citation from Cal/OSHA.
UPDATE for March 15, 2021:
Tulare County will continue to follow CDPH guidance for schools including bussing. Per COVID-19 and Reopening In-Person Instruction Framework & Public Health Guidance for K-12 Schools in California, 2020-2021 School Year.
UPDATE for March 8, 2021:
California Department of Public Health (CDPH) released an updated version of its youth and recreational sports guidance on March 4, 2021. Tulare County will continue to follow CPDH guidance on youth sports.
UPDATE for March 5, 2021:
Tulare County will follow the state guidance from the school plan. Per COVID-19 and Reopening In-Person Instruction Framework & Public Health Guidance for K-12 Schools in California, 2020-2021 School Year.
UPDATE for March 2, 2021:
UPDATE for February 26, 2021:
On February 19, 2021 California Dept. of Public Health released updated guidance on Outdoor and Indoor Youth and Recreational Adult Sports.
UPDATE for February 18, 2021:
On January 14, 2021 California Dept. of Public Health released updated guidance on COVID-19 Reopening and In-person Instruction Framework & Public Health Guidance for K-12 Schools. Schools located in counties that are within the Purple Tier, and serving students in grade TK-6 may reopen for in-person instruction when case rates have fallen below 25 per 100,000 in Tulare County.
UPDATE for February 1, 2021:
On January 25, 2021 the Regional Stay at Home Order ended which allowed competitions for some sports to resume. Be advised this may change at any time depending COVID-19 transmission and ICU availability projections in California. Tulare County remains in the purple tier and will follow all applicable CDPH guidance regarding youth sports.
UPDATE for January 11, 2021:
As the COVID19 pandemic evolves, Tulare County Public Health continues to monitor the State guidance so that we can continue to work collaboratively with our educational partners and provide the needed support to return to in person learning and reduce the risk of exposure and transmission of COVID-19.
Tulare County Public Health is communicating with local schools that received approval to re-open from the County, but pending approval from California Department of Public Health. The County is exercising its local authority to allow these schools to return their Grades TK-2 students to in person learning.
UPDATE for December 14, 2020:
Tulare County Public Health has been committed to supporting schools through COVID-19 and the implementation of the T/K-6th grade Waiver. It’s our desire to continue to support Tulare County School Districts providing in-person instruction at all grade levels through the waiver plans or those utilizing cohort guidance.
In order to ensure the best possible collaboration and support, we’ve developed a team of liaisons that have been assigned to individual school districts. Beginning Monday, December 14, 2020, assigned liaisons will begin reaching out to all districts with an approved waiver. These individuals will be gathering needed information as well as following up on your efforts to provide a safe environment as children return to school.
UPDATE for November 25, 2020:
The school waiver process for reopening during the COVID-19 pandemic is critical to ensuring that schools have the proper safety plans and mitigation strategies in place to resume in-person learning. At this time, and until further notice, schools that have already re-opened and received approval from Tulare County Public Health and the California Department of Public Health may remain open. Those schools who have received approval from Tulare County but have not yet opened may proceed, but should consider delaying the start of in-person learning until 2021.
Schools that have not re-opened or have not received an approved waiver, may provide in-person instruction of school officials decide to conduct in-person instruction for a limited set of students in small cohorts under the State’s School Cohorts Guidance. Although there is no requirement for approval of cohorts, the Public Health Department is available to answer questions and provide assistance with safety measures and guidance.
School who have not returned to in-person learning should continue pursuing and applying for school waivers by engaging with Tulare County Public Health on recommendations and safety precautions as we navigate through the coming weeks. While COVID-19 case rates are elevated, school waiver applications may ONLY be considered for TK-2 Grades, and when case rates stabilize the entire TK-6 Grade can be considered. If case rates continue to elevate, it may be necessary to put all school waiver applications on hold.
Schools who decide to remain open while infection rates are elevated should proceed with caution and do everything feasible to keep students, staff, and our communities safe.
Tulare County School Waiver Information
Tulare County Public Health will adhere to the guidance set forth by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), which recommends that counties with daily case rates at or above 14 cases per 100,000 residents do not approve waivers for the reopening of in-person classroom instruction for students in grades TK–6.
Tulare County Public Health is considering the reopening of in-person classroom instruction for grades TK-2 ONLY with approved modifications.
For all grade levels to return to in-person instruction and all schools to reopen, per State Order and requirement, Tulare county must move out of the Widespread County Risk Level for a period of 14 consecutive days with daily case rates at or below 7 cases per 100,000 residents and a positive test rate of less than 8% to safely reopen all schools at all grade levels.
Ensuring the health and safety of children, teachers, staff, and all of their families is the top priority. It’s recommended that schools develop a reopening plan that meets the requirements set forth by CDPH and Tulare County Public Health. Prior to submitting for a waiver, the school superintendent or equivalent must consult with labor, parent, and community organizations to develop and publish a reopening plan.
School districts are welcomed to apply on behalf of all of their elementary schools with one waiver application. However, each school will need to have their own addendum to ensure that each unique site meets specific waiver criteria. To assist in determining which elements can be consistent throughout each site and which should be unique to the site, we've broken it down below:
Areas within the waiver requirements that will differ based on each individual’s school site:
Clarification of student body at each school site
Distancing- each plan must confirm that every classroom will have appropriate distancing to allow for a minimum of 6' between all students as well as other common areas i.e. office, hallways, etc.
Contact tracing- each school site must have identified individuals responsible for certain aspects of contact tracing- it should be made clear in each school's plan who is responsible for each element (this can be a specific person or it can be identified by a persons job title/role).
Sick persons on campus- each school should identify an isolation room when handling sick individuals on campus
Movement- Each school plan sold identify entrance, egress, etc.
Areas within the waiver requirements that can be the same between all schools in the district:
General safety guidelines and hygiene practices
Staff training and family training
PPE and face covering requirements
Symptom checking and health screening protocols
On August 25, 2020, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) issued Guidance Related to Cohorts (Cohorting Guidance), which sets minimum health and safety guidelines across multiple sectors serving youth, including childcare and schools (public and private). The purpose of the Cohorting Guidance is to establish minimum parameters for providing specialized services, targeted services and support for students while schools are otherwise closed for in-person instruction in ways that maintain the focus on health and safety to minimize transmission. Learn more by reviewing the following guidance documents:
The following Tulare County schools have applied and submitted a waiver to reopen (Updated January 11, 2021)