How do we minimize risk and prepare for students returning to campus?


Returning to in-person instruction safely will depend on a series of factors, some of which LEAs are not able to control, such as the state of public health in the district’s county. As public health conditions continue to evolve and new scientific evidence becomes available, LEAs will have to continue to adapt their plans to resume in-person instruction. Working collaboratively with local health officials and understanding public health guidance will help LEAs respond to the changing circumstances to ensure the safety of students and staff.


Check that your health and safety plan to resume in-person instruction is comprehensive and up to date. Visit the CCEE Health and Safety Guidebook for tools and tips, or use this personal planning tool to apply the information in the guidebook. Alternatively, click here for tips and tools organized by role, with guidance for district leaders, principals, teachers, and parents. 


  • DO NOW: Create your SSPP with a template and go through the San Diego County Office of Education reopening checklist.
  • DO NEXT: Complete the Personalized Planning Tool to receive tools and resources tailored to your needs. 


Establish Key Liaisons

To stay on top of continuously evolving guidance and changing local conditions and ensure the safety of your learning community, establish and maintain productive relationships with the key partners with whom you will interact on an ongoing basis. 

  • County Health Officers: Consult with your county health officer or their designated staff, who are best positioned to monitor and provide advice on local conditions. A directory of county health officers can be found here.   
  • County Offices of Education: Coordinate with county offices of education (COEs) for up-to-date local information and developments.
  • Community Partners: Ensure you also include child care, afterschool partners, and other community support organizations in your planning, as it is likely you will need to tightly coordinate services and logistics to maximize support and minimize exposure to COVID-19.

Create a COVID-19 Safety Plan (CSP)  

LEAs must complete and publicly post the CSP if they have already reopened for in-person instruction or if they are planning to reopen for in-person instruction. In some cases (Purple Tier and CR<25) they may also be required to submit it to their local health department and the State Safe Schools for All Team.

The COVID-19 Safety Plan (CSP) consists of two parts:

  1. the Cal/OSHA COVID-19 Prevention Program (CPP)
  2. the COVID-19 School Guidance Checklist


Part 1: Your LEA may already have the CPP in place, as it is the result of Cal/OSHA’s Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS) of December 1, 2020. Alternatively. they can also use Cal/OSHA’s downloadable model document to craft their CPP if they do not already have one in place. (A FAQ is also available.) Employers can also create a written CPP by incorporating elements of this program into their existing Injury and Illness Prevention Program (IIPP), if desired. 

Part 2: The COVID-19 School Guidance Checklist is a new requirement brought forth by the January 14, 2021 CDPH consolidated guidance that streamlines the previous COVID-19 Site-Specific Protection Plan (SSPP) requirements. The 5-page fillable PDF is available here for download. 

For more information, please visit the School Safety Plans section of CCEE’s Health & Safety Guidebook. 

Plan for Additional Supplies Needed

Purchasing supplies can be challenging and expensive, so planning ahead is critical.

Follow Guidance for Reopening Schools

Schools must follow the California Department of Public Health’s COVID-19 and Reopening In-Person Instruction Framework & Public Health Guidance for K-12 Schools in California, 2020-2021 School Year.

  • The San Diego County Office of Education has developed a checklist with trigger points, milestones, and actions related to reopening. 

If you determine that reopening is possible, here are some resources for planning to do so safely:


Here are some example reopening plans:


To make sure your community is reminded of what is required, considered signage and flyers like these:


CCEE'S Health & Safety Guidebook

The Guidebook is designed for school and district leadership teams planning a safe return to on-site, in-person instruction in a way that maximizes future equity outcomes and addresses the diverse needs of California’s students while continuously adapting to the challenges posed by COVID-19.

 Remember General Criteria for Considering Reclosure 

School Closures: Even if its district has reopened, reclosure of an individual school within that district may be appropriate under one of these conditions:

  • An outbreak in 25% or more of stable groups in 14 days: There are multiple cases in 25% or more of cohorts at a school within a 14-day period. 
  • More than 5% of school population test positive within 14 days: At least three outbreaks have occurred in the school and more than 5% of the school population is infected.
  • Local Health Officer decision: The local health officer may determine school closure is warranted for other reasons, including results from a public health investigation or other local epidemiological data.

District Closure: A school district should close, in consultation with the LHD, if :

  • 25% of schools are closed: All schools in a district should close if 25% or more of schools within it have closed due to COVID-19.

Reopening for in-person instruction again after closure: Schools and districts typically are allowed to reopen after 14 days if the following have occurred: 

  • Cleaning and disinfection,
  • Public health investigation has been completed, and
  • Consultation with the local public health department.


  • How prepared is the team to efficiently carry out health and safety protocols? What changes, if any, do we need to make?
  • How can we best stay on top of the recommended protocols on all campuses?
  • How are the voices and needs of parents and staff reflected in our health and safety planning team?
The Field Guide for California LEAs
The Field Guide for accelerating learning, equity, and well being was developed by the California Collaborative for
Educational Excellence for California LEAs in collaboration with technical assistance partners.