Schools & Childcare

Schools & Childcare Information

COVID-19 Public Health Guidance for K–12 Schools to Support Safe
In-Person Learning, 2022–2023 School Year

The SBCPHD SS4A COVID-19 response recommendations are based on the California’s K-12 Framework for the 2022/23 School Year and is intended to support safe, in-person learning in K-12 schools and mitigate the spread of COVID-19 as well as other infectious diseases.  Disease management strategies in K-12 schools are guided by the principle that safe, in-person learning is critical to student well-being and development.

  • The CDPH Safe Schools for All Hub consolidates key resources and information related to COVID-19 and schools. All current guidance documents can be found at the State of California Safe Schools for All HUB. New resources will be added to the Hub on a regular basis. Please visit for California’s K-12 Framework for the 2022/23 School Year.
  • Students diagnosed with COVID-19 should follow recommendations listed in Table 1 of CDPH’s guidance for the general public, including staying home for at least 5 days and wearing a well-fitting mask around others for a total of 10 days, especially in indoor settings.

  • If exposed students remain without symptoms, students may continue to take part in all aspects of K–12 schooling including sports and extracurricular activities. As recommended in Table 2, they should wear a well-fitting mask around others for a total of 10 days and get tested 3–5 days after last exposure.

  • Effective April 6 per CDPH guidance, close contact is when someone shares the same indoor airspace, e.g. home, clinic waiting room, airplane etc., for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period (for example, three individual 5-minute exposures for a total of 15 minutes) during an infected person’s (laboratory-confirmed or a clinical diagnosis) infectious period.
  • Students and employees are considered fully vaccinated for COVID-19: two weeks or more after they have received the second dose in a 2-dose series (Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna), two weeks or more after they have received a single-dose vaccine (Johnson and Johnson [J&J]/Janssen), or two weeks after receipt of another vaccine authorized by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Schools Guidance

For the current CDPH guidance for K-12 schools, CLICK HERE.

CLICK HERE for English PDF.

CLICK HERE for Spanish PDF.


  • Effective July 1, 2022, all individual student case reporting stops.
  • Schools are still required, as with other communicable diseases, to report outbreaks. The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department outbreak reporting criteria requires that:
    • An outbreak should be reported when 10%, or more, of a student cohort (e.g., classroom, grade-level, sports team, band, club, etc.) tests COVID-19 positive within a 14-day period. CLICK HERE to read the letter to Santa Barbara County School District Superintendents and School Leaders Re: Outbreak Reporting 7/26/22).
  • COVID-19 outbreaks must be reported to SBCPHD Outbreak Reporting Form using total aggregate numbers of cases in the outbreak at the time of reporting and the specific place in the location.
  • While waiting for contact from the Outbreak Report Investigator (OBI) below is some guidance as what to expect and possible mitigation strategies:
    • What the OBI will need/ask:
      • How many cases, students/staff?
      • What grade? Class?
      • Test dates?
      • Symptomatic? Onset?
      • Last day on campus?
    • Mitigation Strategies to put into place:
      • Conduct exposure notifications.
      • Encourage students to mask following exposure for the next 10 days.
      • Encourage vaccinations and boosters for COVID-19.
      • Recommended follow-up testing 3-5 days after more recent exposure regardless of vaccination status.
      • Optimize air ventilation via mechanical HVAC system or manually by opening windows/doors.
      • Move the impacted class (i.e. 3 or more positive individuals in one classroom) to a larger space such as a multipurpose room or possibly implement a hybrid model of indoor and outdoor activities.


Reporting of staff/employees/volunteers testing positive for COVID-19 does not change. Refer to CalOSHA ETS for details:

  • AB 685 (Chapter 84, Statutes of 2020) is a California law that requires employers to notify employees who may have been exposed to COVID-19 and to report workplace outbreaks of COVID-19 to the local health department.
  • A COVID-19 outbreak in a non-healthcare workplace is defined as at least three COVID-19 cases among workers at the same worksite within a 14-day period.

Testing remains a key mitigation layer to detect and curb transmission of COVID-19. Schools are encouraged to ensure access to COVID-19 testing for students and staff, particularly for vulnerable communities. Over the counter (OTC) tests are available at no cost through healthcare insurers, local, and federal sources.

  • Recommended Actions:
    • CDPH recommends that OTC/At-Home antigen tests be considered the primary option for detecting COVID-19 in schools, compared to PCR tests.  For more information, click here to see the School Testing Framework and Q&A for 2022-23 School Year.
    • Due to the increased travel and social interactions that often occurs during school-breaks, it is recommended that students and staff get tested for COVID-19 prior to returning to school following major breaks (e.g., summer, winter, spring).

Public Health Leaders End Weekly Testing Requirements for Workers

  • To better align state COVID-19 guidance with the most current federal recommendations, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) is ending COVID-19 policies that required weekly COVID-19 testing for unvaccinated individuals in high-risk workplaces and schools. Health care facilities, other congregate settings and schools will no longer be required to administer weekly COVID-19 testing of unvaccinated and under vaccinated workers. The changes take effect Saturday, September 17, 2022. The state’s vaccination and booster requirements for employees in healthcare, correctional health, and adult residential settings remain in effect. CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION.

Prompt notification to students and families regarding exposure to infectious diseases, including COVID-19, can allow for rapid testing, early treatment, and prevention of further spread. CDPH has developed templated letters for schools to notify parents and guardians of either a student exposure or inform the school community of a general increase in transmission. The letters are available below for download, customization, and use during the 2022/23 school year.

School Waivers FAQ's

A waiver may only be granted if one is requested by the superintendent (or equivalent for charter or private schools), in consultation with labor, parent and community organizations. Local health officers must review local community epidemiological data, consider other public health interventions, and consult with CDPH when considering a waiver request.

A waiver application was created for Santa Barbara County schools. Both public and private schools can apply for a waiver for in-person instruction.

Waiver applications are submitted to:

Waiver applications need to include concise descriptions of how the schools are meeting the required elements.  Full Reopening Plans are not to be submitted with waiver applications. Those are to be posted on the school website for community stakeholders to view the plans.

Currently only grades TK-6 are eligible to apply for waivers. This is based on guidance from the California Department of Public Health.

Per the CDPH, based on current best available scientific evidence, COVID-related risks in schools serving elementary-age students (grades TK-6) are lower than and different from the risk to staff and to students in schools serving older students. In particular, there appears to be lower risk of child-to-child or child-to-adult transmission in children under age 12.  While people of all ages, including children, can be infected and have serious illness, the risk in elementary school children is particularly low.

There are health-related risk for children who are not provided in-person instruction, including lower rates of immunizations, higher rates of undetected child abuse and neglect, and other negative indicators of public health and wellbeing.

The waiver applications process includes the following steps:

  1. A district Superintendent, private school principal/head of school or executive director of a charter school must consult with labor and parent organizations and publish the school reopening plan on the website of the local educational agency
  2. The superintendent (equivalent or designated staff) complete the school waiver application form and submit it to Complete a County RISE attestation on the county Reopening Your Business website
  3. The local Health Officer then reviews the application, the reopening plan, and local community epidemiological data.
  4. The local Health Officer consults with CDPH* to make a determination whether to grant or deny the waiver

The local Health Officer must confirm that they have considered the following:

  1. Health & Safety
    1. Local health guidance, including appropriate mandatory requirements consistent with CDPH guidance such as wearing face coverings, maintaining physical distancing, and following hand hygiene measures.
    2. Safety plans and availability of appropriate PPE, as recommended by the local health officer and CDPH guidance, for all elementary teachers and staff who will be involved in in-person instruction
    3. Availability of public health & school resources for COVID-19 investigation and response
  2. Local (city) Epidemiological Data & Health Care Capacity
    1. Current new case rate, testing & positivity trends, and the number and degree of indicators above thresholds to be on the monitoring list
    2. Local hospitalization trends and hospital capacity
    3. Any other local conditions or data contributing to inclusion on the monitoring list (e.g. out of jurisdiction hospitalizations, outbreaks, etc.)
  3. Testing
    1. Availability of testing resources within the community and, as applicable, via employee health plans to provide access to periodic testing to all elementary teachers and staff, with reasonable turn-around times
  4. Other consideration(s)
    1. The extent to which the school, school district, or system of private schools has consulted with relevant labor, community, and parent organizations, as applicable.

The SBC Public Health team will evaluate the waiver application within 5 business days of receipt.  The team will contact the applicant if additional information is needed, and the clock resets upon receipt of the revised waiver application.  The team will submit the waiver application for concurrence from CDPH, who will take up to 3 business days to evaluate the packet.  The applicant will be notified by the 10th business day from the submission of the waiver packet. 

Questions about applying for this waiver can be directed to: Susan Klein-Rothschild at

Feedback may be emailed to to be included in the application package.

Child Care

Santa Barbara County’s Public Health Department released guidance steps to take when a child or staff member is symptomatic, exposed to COVID-19, and/or tests negative or positive for COVID-19.  

Click HERE to read Protocols for Symptoms, Close Contacts, and COVID-19 Cases: Child Care or Youth Setting outside of K-12 School

Click HERE for Spanish

COVID-19 Guidance for Operating Early Care and Education/Childcare Programs (CDC Guidelines)

Click HERE to read the CDC’s guidelines. 

Early Learning and Care Playbook

California for All produced guidance on key child care operation topics for providers.

  • Children’s Resource & Referral can help guide parents through the challenge of finding a child care arrangement that best suits their needs, explain the state licensing regulations and the indicators of quality care, and answers questions about child care. To receive referrals to licensed child care in Santa Barbara County call (805) 925-7071 or CLICK HERE to visit the Children’s Resource and Referral of Santa Barbara County.
  • If you are looking for child care or already enrolled in a licensed day care and want to subscribe to your child’s facility to get updates, visit Community Care Licensing’s Resources for Parents page.

Myocarditis and Pericarditis

CLICK HERE for more information about myocarditis and pericarditis following COVID-19 vaccination.