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Communities across the state are preparing for the forthcoming school year. To assist with that planning process, the following guidelines and considerations are intended to help school and community leaders plan and prepare to resume in-person instruction.

This guidance is interim and subject to updates. These guidelines and considerations are based on the best available public health data at this time, international best practices currently employed, and the practical realities of managing school operations; as new data and practices emerge. Additionally, the guidelines and considerations do not reflect the full scope of issues that school communities will need to address, which range from day-to-day site-based logistics to the social and emotional well-being of students and staff.

California public schools (traditional and charter), private schools (including nonpublic nonsectarian schools), school districts, and county offices of education, herein referred to as schools, will determine the most appropriate instructional model, taking into account the needs of their students and staff, and their available infrastructure. This guidance is not intended to prevent a school from adopting a distance learning, hybrid, or mixed-delivery instructional model to ensure safety. Schools are not required to seek out or receive approval from a state or local public health officer prior to adopting a distance-learning model.

Implementation of this guidance will depend on local public health conditions, including those listed here. Communities meeting those criteria, such as lower incidence of COVID-19 and adequate preparedness, may implement the guidance described below as part of a phased reopening. All decisions about following this guidance should be made in collaboration with local health officials and other authorities.

Implementation of this guidance should be tailored for each setting, including adequate consideration of instructional programs operating at each school site and the needs of students and families. School leaders should engage relevant stakeholders—including families, staff and labor partners in the school community—to formulate and implement plans that consider the following:

Student, Family and Staff Population: Who are the student, family and staff populations who will be impacted by or can serve as partners in implementing any of the following measures? 

* Ability to Implement or Adhere to Measures: Do staff, students and families have the tools, information, resources and ability to successfully adhere to or implement the new measures?

* Negative or Unintended Consequences: Are there any negative or unintended consequences to staff, students or families of implementing the measures and how can those consequences be mitigated?

This guidance is not intended to revoke or repeal any worker rights, either statutory, regulatory or collectively bargained, and is not exhaustive, as it does not include county health orders, nor is it a substitute for any existing safety and health-related regulatory requirements such as those of Cal/OSHA. Stay current on changes to public health guidance and state/local orders, as the COVID-19 situation continues.