- Santa Clara Unified School District
- Reopening FAQs
Closing and Opening Schools
If you do not find the answers you need on this page, please complete our Reopening FAQs Form. If your question is not answered by a current FAQ, the question and answer will be added to the FAQ section below. FAQs will be updated regularly.
When will schools reopen?
Following our Phase Two Reopening Plan, some students will gradually begin to return to campuses by invitation when Santa Clara County moves to the Orange Tier of California's Blueprint for a Safer Economy. You can follow our county’s Blueprint dashboard here. When we transition, families who wish to keep their children in full distance learning will have that option.
Why open in the Orange Tier?
In December 2020, the Board of Trustees voted to approve our labor agreements and Phase Two Reopening Plan that directed reopening in the Orange Tier.
Considerations regarding reopening campuses requires a balancing of needs. All employees have a right to expect employers to make their work environment as safe as possible during this pandemic, we have a moral obligation to do so responsibly while, at the same time, serving the essential educational and social-emotional needs of our students.
We have high-risk staff and staff with high-risk family members, who all care very much about students and put them first, and who also have needs that we must consider and plan for. Recruiting and retaining high-quality staff and maintaining a strong culture is important so that we can best serve our students and meet their needs. We are fortunate to have amazing, highly-skilled, high-performing staff. It’s important for our students and community, now more than ever, that we are able to retain our highly-qualified staff and foster our strong district culture of excellence.
By the school board, district, and our labor associations agreeing to wait to reopen in the Orange Tier, with or without a vaccine, we are responsibly balancing both our students' need to return to in-person as safely and as soon as possible, with our employees' need to be offered a safe work environment and to feel supported by their employer and community.
While most districts in the county, including Santa Clara Unified, are currently only offering limited in-person support for students, only a few districts in the county are currently offering hybrid or in-person learning to elementary school students. So many districts in the state are still struggling to come to reopening agreements with their labor associations. There are also many excellent examples of school districts that have worked in partnership with their local labor leaders to reopen, and we believe SCUSD is among them.
Response to Suspected COVID-19 Cases
What happens if a student comes to school ill?
(Rev 7/21/20) A child who is ill and exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 will be given a mask to wear if they are not already wearing one and supervised in a separate area until parents arrive to pick them up.
Will they be required to be tested for COVID-19?
(Rev 7/24/20) Per public health department, a student or staff member with symptoms will be required to get a COVID-19 test as soon as possible or provide a medical note before returning. If the test is negative, they are to remain home until at least 72 hours after resolution of fever and improvement of symptoms. If a student or staff test positive, they will receive instructions to isolate for 10 days and 3 days with no symptoms. Close contacts at school will be identified and notified with public health department instructions for testing and quarantine; If an elementary class is affected, the entire classroom will be quarantined. A public health department "general advisory" letter may be given (template letters are in development by the department). Close contact is defined by California Department of Public Health as within 6 feet for 15 or more minutes.
Confirmed COVID-19 Cases
Will parents, students and staff be made aware if someone on campus tests positive for COVID-19?
(Rev 7/21/20) California Department of Public Health guidance states that schools should document/track incidents of possible exposure and notify local health officials. While maintaining confidentiality as required under FERPA and state and federal law related to privacy of educational and employee records, if a student or staff member tests positive for COVID-19, close contacts at school will be identified and notified with public health department instructions for testing and quarantine; If an elementary class is affected, the entire classroom will be quarantined. A public health department "general advisory" letter may be given (template letters are in development by the department). Close contact is defined by California Department of Public Health as within 6 feet for 15 or more minutes.
What happens if a staff member or student tests positive? Will school be closed for 14 days? Is there a procedure in place for quarantining in the event that a person on campus tests positive?
(Rev 7/21/20) If a student or staff member tests positive for COVID-19, close contacts at school will be identified and notified with public health department instructions for testing and quarantine; If an elementary class is affected, the entire classroom will be quarantined. A public health department "general advisory" letter may be given (template letters are in development by the department). Close contact is defined by California Department of Public Health as within 6 feet for 15 or more minutes. We will follow the SCCPHD guidelines for closures. Each scenario has different circumstances. Depending on the situation, a class will be isolated until cleared to return to school. The teacher will continue to provide lessons via distance learning. The SCCPHD will assist school districts in the process.
What happens in the case that a family member of a student or staff member tests positive?
(Rev 7/28/20) If it is confirmed that a student or staff member has been in close contact with a positive case, they would follow the public health department guidelines, including home quarantine for at least 14 days. A student who is self-isolating will work with their teacher to complete coursework from home.
What criteria will be used to reopen and close classrooms, schools, and districts?
(Rev 7/21/20) According to the governor’s directive, schools will be able to begin reopening following specific public health criteria indicating that their county has been off of the monitoring list for 14 consecutive days. We will continue planning for a return to in-person learning for when public health conditions allow it and adequate resources are allocated by both the state and federal governments for the safe return to school by students and staff.
The specific metrics schools must meet to open in-person instruction and remain open include:
- Schools and school districts can reopen only when their county has been off of the monitoring list for 14 consecutive days.
- A classroom should revert to distance learning for 14 days when one student or staff member of that classroom tests positive for COVID-19.
- Schools should revert to distance learning for 14 days when there are multiple cases in multiple classrooms or cohorts (groups) or five percent of students and staff test positive for COVID-19 within a 14 day period.
- The district should revert to distance learning for 14 days when 25 percent or more of its schools have been physically closed due to COVID-19 within 14 days.*
*Follow our board-approved labor agreements, the district would also revert to distance learning if our county ever reverts back to the Purple Tier of California’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy and would reopen when our county moves back to the Orange Tier.
What happens to teaching and learning if an entire classroom or school needs to close?
(Rev 7/21/20) The teachers and students would transition into an online distance learning model until they can return to the classroom. SCUSD will have a plan and teacher training in place for this scenario.
Will truancy limits (10% of missed days) remain the same in event that a student is sent home for a minimum of 14 days due to COVID-19 exposure?
(Rev 7/21/20) An absence of this type will not count towards truancy. Students with needs for extended absences will be supported on a case-by-case basis.
How do I report my positive results or close contact exposure?
(Rev 11/20/20) You will report directly to your site administrator via email or phone call. Our reporting protocols follow all HIPAA guidelines and we may release information to public health officials as required.
I heard there was a positive case at my school but I have not received a notice, what do I do?
(Rev 11/20/20) If there is a confirmed positive case at your school, the case and all close contacts will be notified. If you did not receive a letter, you were not determined to be a close contact.
I received a case or close contact letter but the number on the dashboard has not been updated. Why?
(Rev 11/20/20) SCUSD does not wait to notify close contacts upon the initial report of a positive case. However, we do wait for official confirmation from the Santa Clara County Public Health Department before listing the case on this dashboard. This could result in a delay of cases appearing on this dashboard or a discrepancy between the number of notifications received and the actual number of confirmed cases (when the case is not confirmed positive by public health).
Where can I find up-to-date information about confirmed cases at SCUSD?
(Rev 11/20/20) All confirmed COVID-19 incidents related to Santa Clara Unified school sites and offices will be posted to our COVID-19 Tracking Dashboard webpage.
Return to Campus
Will students sent home due to COVID-19 exposure move to the distance learning program temporarily until it is safe for them to return, or permanently?
(Rev 7/21/20) No. These students will not be enrolled into the distance learning program. A student who is self-isolating will work with their teacher to complete coursework from home.
I would really like my student to return to a normal school day on campus; however, I am also worried they may contract COVID-19. What assurances do I have as a parent that every precaution will be taken to ensure my child's safety specific to this virus?
(Rev 7/21/20) SCUSD will follow the SCCPHD guidelines and orders to the greatest extent possible to ensure safety for our students and staff.