Coronavirus and Education Programs

Last content update: 5/11/22

NOTE: As of April 6, 2022, the County of Santa Clara Public Health Department has updated its webpages to address new California Department of Public Health (CDPH) COVID-19 Public Health Guidance for K-12 Schools in California (updated 4/06/22), Guidance for Child Care Providers and Programs (updated 3/12/22), and Guidance for the Use of Face Masks (updated 4/20/22).

School Portal for Outbreak Tracking   SCCOE COVID-19 CONCERNS PORTAL   COVID-19 Designee Toolkit

COVID-19 Vaccine Information
 
For the latest information on where children 5-11 years old can be vaccinated or how to schedule an appointment, please visit sccfreevax.org. This is the County’s official source for vaccine-related information and is updated frequently.
 
Information on the State of California’s COVID-19 vaccination guidance and prioritization plan is also available.

Education Programs Include Childcare, Preschools, Camps, TK-12, Higher Education and Other Programs Serving Children and Youth

Welcome education program partners. The County Office of Education and County Public Health Department continue to work with schools, other programs serving children and youth, and families to maintain a safe and healthy schools environment for in-person learning and operation of programs serving children and youth in Santa Clara County.

 

Early Education and Other Programs Serving Children or Youth

Current Guidance for Childcare Programs, Preschools, Camps, and Other Programs Serving Children and Youth

Report a Case of COVID-19 in Your Early Education or Youth Program

When to Use the School Portal for Outbreak Tracking (SPOT) :

Single cases among staff or children/students in childcare and other programs serving children or youth do not have to be reported to the local health department. However, outbreaks still need to be reported to the Santa Clara County Public Health Department.

NOTE: Childcare centers are required to report outbreaks and individual COVID-19 cases or deaths to California Department of Social Services (CDSS) Community Care Licensing (CCL). For more information, see CDPH Guidance for Child Care Providers and Programs.

Per CDPH, an outbreak in child daycare facilities, K-12 schools and colleges/universities is defined as:

At least three probable or confirmed COVID-19 cases within a 14-day period in people who share physical space in the setting, are from different households, and are not identified as close contacts of each other in any other case investigation.

Report an outbreak of COVID-19 in your program to the Public Health Department by completing this SPOT Intake form when 3 or more children, students or staff members test positive for COVID-19 and:

  • reported symptoms of COVID-19 while they were at work, school or on-site;
  • OR developed symptoms of COVID-19 within 48 hours of being at work, school or on site;
  • OR was diagnosed with COVID-19 without symptoms within 48 hours of being at work, school or on-site

Instructions for Filling out the Education Portal:

  • If you do not have an existing SPOT account, submit a SPOT Intake Form to start the account setup process.
  • For detailed instructions on submitting to SPOT, see SPOT User Guide.
  • For technical assistance with submission of SPOT Intake Forms (e.g., login or password assistance), please contact the SPOT Help Desk at [email protected] or call (916) 520-1619.

Schools Portal for Outbreak Tracking (SPOT)

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TK-12

Current Guidance for TK-12 School District Superintendents, School Boards, And Other School Administration Leaders

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COVID-19 Designee Toolkit

Each school/school district has a COVID-19 Designee, who is the person appointed as a communication link between the schools and the Public Health Department. Please visit the COVID-19 Designee Toolkit page for all resources needed by COVID-19 Designees in their support of the COVID-19 response in schools.
 

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Resources for Parents

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Report a Case or Outbreak of COVID-19 in Your TK-12 Education Program

TK-12 schools are required by California law, AB 86, to immediately, and in no case later than 24 hours, notify the local Health Officer or the local Health Officer’s representative about a positive COVID-19 case.

Schools, childcare, and other youth programs in Santa Clara County can meet their case reporting obligations by reporting cases through SPOT (School Portal for Outbreak Tracking).

TK-12 schools in Santa Clara County all have a single SPOT Exposure Event Number assigned. The Public Health Department has provided the Exposure Event Number to each COVID-19 school designee through email. TK-12 schools no longer have to submit a SPOT Intake Form for every positive case - please log in to SPOT to enter cases directly into the single Exposure Event for your school.

If you are not registered for SPOT, please reach out to your school and/or district’s COVID-19 designee.

If you are a newly appointed designee by your school or district and have never accessed the SPOT Portal before, you can email our department at [email protected]. You will also receive an email to set-up your SPOT liaison account. Please check your email’s spam/junk folder if you have not received this email within 1 business day of submitting your first SPOT Intake Form.

For technical issues with SPOT Portal, such as login or password issues, please contact the SPOT Help Desk at [email protected] or call (916) 520-1619.

When cases, close contacts or outbreaks are identified, ensure the following:

Please refer to the latest guidance from CDPH for key recommendations for your TK-12 school.

When to Use the School Portal for Outbreak Tracking (SPOT):

Report cases in SPOT to your school’s Exposure Event if a child, student or staff member in your program is diagnosed with COVID-19 and they fall into one of the categories below.

If the student or staff member who tested positive for COVID-19 either:

  1. reported symptoms of COVID-19 while they were at work, school or on-site
  2. developed symptoms of COVID-19 within 48 hours of being at work, school or on site
  3. was diagnosed with COVID-19 without symptoms within 48 hours of being at work, school or on-site

Instructions for Completing the Education Portal:

Updated 3/11/22 – Report cases by adding to the Exposure Event created for each school in SPOT. Each school will have an Exposure Event number that will stay open indefinitely.  To add cases or contacts under a school’s Exposure Event in SPOT, please view SPOT Demo for School Liaisons - YouTube.

  • Use the same Exposure Event ID number for all cases and contacts reported for a single school
  • Please login to SPOT and submit information under the school’s Exposure Event for each diagnosed case of COVID-19 in a child or student attending your school/program and for each diagnosed case of COVID-19 in a staff member working at your school/program. Please include as much information as you can.  As stated in the California Department of Public Health’s (CDPH) COVID-19 Public Health Guidance for K-12 Schools in California, 2021-22 School Year, K-12 schools are legally required to submit this report within twenty-four hours after learning of a positive case.
  • If you do not have complete information within twenty-four hours, you must report the information that you were able to obtain. You may update the information you provide if you discover additional information after your initial report. The information you provide will remain confidential and is not reported to law enforcement or immigration. Providing this information helps our local case investigation teams identify and slow the transmission of COVID-19 in our in-person education settings. Thank you for your cooperation.
  • If you do not have an existing SPOT account, submit a SPOT Intake Form to start the account setup process.
  • For detailed instructions, see SPOT User Guidance

Schools Portal for Outbreak Tracking (SPOT)

If an outbreak of significant concern is identified at your school or you need technical assistance, please contact [email protected].

For questions or technical assistance, contact the SPOT Help Desk at [email protected]re.com or phone number: (916) 520-1619.

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Frequently Asked Questions for TK-12 and Programs Serving Children or Youth

NOTE: The California Public Health Department (CDPH) strongly recommends that schools utilize (or begin transitioning to) the notification-based model provided in Group Tracing Approach to Students Exposed to COVID-19 in a K-12 setting. In this approach, students are notified of their exposure and test 3-5 days after BUT stay in school regardless of vaccination status (unless symptomatic or test positive).

(NOTE: Each FAQ is followed by a parenthetical indicating whether the FAQ applies to TK-12 schools, programs for children or youth, or both.)

Face Coverings

  1. Are face coverings required? (TK-12; Programs for Children/Youth)

    After March 11, 2022, face coverings will no longer be required by the County or State in schools or childcare facilities. However, the County of Santa Clara Health Officer and California Department of Public Health strongly recommend that all persons wear face coverings when indoors. For more information, see CDPH’s COVID-19 Public Health Guidance for K-12 Schools.  Schools, childcare programs, and other programs serving children or youth may choose to require face coverings when indoors and/or outdoors.

    NOTE: Face coverings are still required in certain settings (e.g. healthcare facilities) by the State’s Guidance for the Use of Face Coverings and Cal/OSHA’s Emergency Temporary Standards (“Cal/OSHA ETS”).

Ventilation and Air Filtration

  1. Are portable air purifiers helpful in reducing COVID-19 transmission risk? (TK-12; Programs for Children/Youth)

    Portable air purifiers can provide additional protection from COVID-19 exposure, depending on the type of filter used (high efficiency filtration) and the clean air delivery rate (CADR). Multiple devices per classroom may be necessary. For more information, please see the CDPH’s Interim Guidance for Ventilation, Filtration, and Air Quality in Indoor Environments.

COVID-19 Screening, Testing, Reporting, and Response

Updated 4/6/2022 - In general, students/youth who have been exposed to a COVID-19 case AND are asymptomatic may remain in school/childcare, but they should get tested 3-5 days after exposure. They are also strongly recommended to wear a mask for 10 days whenever near others. Exceptions and other considerations may apply. For more information, Please see CDPH’s COVID-19 Public Health Guidance for K-12 Schools and Guidance for Childcare Providers and Programs webpages for more information.

  1. What do employers and staff need to know about COVID-19 isolation and quarantine?

    Staff in schools or programs for children/youth are required to follow isolation and quarantine guidelines for the general public. For more information, see the State’s Guidance for Local Health Jurisdictions on Isolation and Quarantine of the General Public.

  1. When are staff (18 years of age or older) considered “up to date” for the purposes of contact tracing and quarantine? (TK-12)
    1. Received their booster dose
    2. Completed their initial vaccine series at least 14 days ago but are not yet booster eligible, OR
    3. Had confirmed COVID-19 within the last 90 days.

    Adults (18+) who complete an initial vaccine series and are booster-eligible but have not yet received a booster are not considered “up to date” for the purposes of contact tracing and quarantine. Students and staff must follow quarantine guidance based on their vaccination status at the time of exposure, even if they subsequently meet the definition of “up to date.”

  1. Do students/youth still need to quarantine if they were exposed to someone with COVID-19? (TK-12; Programs for Children/Youth)

    Updated 4/6/2022 - In general, students/youth who have been exposed to a COVID-19 case AND are asymptomatic may remain in school/childcare, but they should get tested 3-5 days after exposure. They are also strongly recommended to wear a mask for 10 days whenever near others. Exceptions and other considerations may apply. Please see CDPH’s COVID-19 Public Health Guidance for K-12 Schools and Guidance for Childcare Providers and Programs webpages for more information.

  1. If my child has runny nose or congestion but no other symptoms of COVID-19, should he/she stay home from school? (TK-12)

    Many school age children will have symptoms of runny nose throughout the school year due to a range of conditions. It would be unlikely for a child to experience runny nose as the only symptom of COVID-19, and preventing children with only a runny nose from going to school would likely lead to unnecessary school absences. If a child has a runny nose but no other symptoms of COVID-19, it would be reasonable to allow that child to remain at school, provided the child does not develop any other symptoms of COVID-19.

  1. If a student or staff member has COVID-like symptoms, when is a doctor’s note needed before returning to school? (TK-12)

    If a student or staff person, who is not a close contact to a confirmed COVID-19 case, has COVID-like symptoms that may be common to a variety of illnesses, the person should get tested. If the test result is negative, the student or staff member can return to school when at least 24 hours have passed since resolution of any fever (without the use of fever-reducing medications) and other symptoms have improved. The negative test result should be provided to the school, and a doctor’s note is not needed.

    A doctor’s note is only needed before returning to school if:

    1. the symptoms experienced are identical to those of a documented underlying chronic condition(e.g., asthma or diabetes); or
    2. the healthcare provider determined, through a medical evaluation of the person, that there is an alternative, named diagnosis(e.g., streptococcal pharyngitis or coxsackievirus) that explains the symptoms experienced.

    For a doctor’s note to be valid documentation of the above situations, the doctor must provide a written explanation that includes all of the following: certification that a medical evaluation was completed; an alternative explanation for symptoms; and a statement that COVID-19 testing is not indicated.

  1. When can a case or close contact return to school? (TK-12)

    Students who tested positive or were exposed to COVID-19 can return to school if they meet the criteria detailed in the Return to School Letter.

    Updated 1/19/22: Return to School Letter (PDF) :
    | English | Chinese | Spanish | Vietnamese | Tagalog |

    Anyone who was not a close contact but who has symptoms of COVID-19 IS required to have a negative test or a medical note that details an alternative explanation for the symptoms (see FAQ #7) before returning to school.

    Individuals who refuse testing and/or evaluation should be treated as a COVID-19 case and can return based on the usual isolation criteria of 5 days after symptom onset and 24 hours after resolution of fever and improvement of other symptoms.

    NOTE: The County of Santa Clara Public Health Department endorses and supports the use of at-home testing for all situations in which COVID-19 tests are recommended or required for return to in-person school and childcare settings. Specifically, FDA-authorized antigen home tests may be used to return to school or childcare settings after COVID-19 exposure or isolation in accordance with COVID-19 Guidelines for the General Public, CDPH’s COVID-19 Public Health Guidance for K-12 Schools, and CDPH’s Guidance for Child Care Providers and Programs.

    NOTE: Schools and childcare settings do not need to require in-person or video monitoring of home tests in order to consider them a valid test result. Instead, schools should follow CDPH guidance for documentation of home test performance, which include options to request photos of labeled test kits, signed attestation forms, or input of testing data into apps provided by the testing companies (see Over-The-Counter-Tests-LHJ-Guidance (ca.gov)).

  1. When can a case or close contact return to childcare? (Programs for Children/Youth)

    Children who test positive for COVID-19 can return to childcare or other programs for children/youth when requirements for ending isolation are met. Children who are exposed to COVID-19 who do not have symptoms may continue to attend childcare, regardless of their vaccination status, and are recommended to test 3-5 days after last exposure. View the COVID-19 Decision Tree for TK-12 and Childcare – Updated 5/6/22 | English | Spanish | Vietnamese |) for more on isolation and quarantine requirements.

    Children who are exposed to COVID-19 who do not have symptoms may continue to attend childcare, regardless of their vaccination status, and are recommended to test 3-5 days after last exposure. View the 2021-2022 COVID-19 Decision Tree for Childcare (Updated 3/28/22) for more on quarantine requirements.

    NOTE: The County of Santa Clara Public Health Department endorses and supports the use of at-home testing for all situations in which COVID-19 tests are recommended or required for return to in-person school and childcare settings. Specifically, FDA-authorized antigen home tests may be used to return to school or childcare settings after COVID-19 exposure, quarantine, or isolation in accordance with COVID-19 Guidelines for the General Public, CDPH’s COVID-19 Public Health Guidance for K-12 Schools, and CDPH’s Guidance for Child Care Providers and Programs.

    NOTE: Schools and childcare settings do not need to require in-person or video monitoring of home tests in order to consider them a valid test result. Instead, schools should follow CDPH guidance for documentation of home test performance, which include options to request photos of labeled test kits, signed attestation forms, or input of testing data into apps provided by the testing companies (see Over-The-Counter-Tests-LHJ-Guidance (ca.gov)).

  1. How should we notify families of COVID-19 cases in the school or program? (TK-12; Programs for Children/Youth)

    CDPH’s COVID-19 Public Health Guidance for K-12 Schools strongly recommends that schools utilize (or begin transitioning to) the notification-based model provided in Group Tracing Approach to Students Exposed to COVID-19 in a K-12 setting. In this approach, students are notified of their exposure, test 3-5 days after, and stay in school regardless of vaccination status (unless symptomatic or test positive).

    View a Sample Group Tracing Notification Letter to Parents/Guardians of Students Exposed to COVID-19 in School (updated 3/14/22) here: | English | Spanish | Vietnamese |

  1. Should students, teachers, and other school staff be routinely tested? (TK-12)

    CDPH’s K-12 school-based COVID-19 testing strategies for school year 2021-22 outlines the State’s recommendations and support for testing of students, teachers, and other school staff.  In addition to testing of symptomatic individuals and close contacts, screening testing can be helpful in preventing COVID-19 transmission on campus.

Miscellaneous

  1. Are schools allowed to release personally identifiable information, including health information, from students’ education records to the County Public Health Department without parental or student consent? (TK-12)

    The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is a federal law that protects the privacy of student education records, which generally includes all student information in the possession of schools. In general, school districts and public schools (and other schools receiving federal funds) must obtain consent from a parent or guardian before disclosing personally identifiable information from students’ education records. But exceptions to FERPA’s general consent rule allow schools to share certain records and information without prior consent in certain circumstances.

    In its guidance regarding FERPA and how school officials can help slow the spread of COVID-19, the U.S. Department of Education confirms that schools can share information without prior consent when, in connection with an emergency such as the current COVID-19 pandemic, sharing information with public health officials is necessary to protect the health or safety of students or other individuals. In order to prevent and control the spread of disease through case investigation and contact tracing, this may include information such as whether a student has tested positive for COVID-19, their household contacts, and their parents’ or guardians’ contact information.

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