CDPH Issues COVID-19 Guidance on Youth Sports, Education

This week, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) issued a series of COVID-19 guidance documents relative to youth sports, elementary school in-person instruction waivers, and higher education. Below, we detail these activities:

Youth Sports

On Monday, CDPH issued guidance on youth sports that establishes a consistent set of rules that apply to all youth sports programs, including school-based, club, and recreational programs. Outdoor and indoor sporting events, assemblies, and other activities that require close contact or that would promote congregating, such as tournaments and competitions, are not permitted at this time. Youth sports and physical education are permitted only when physical distancing of at least six feet and a stable cohort of participants, such as a class, can be maintained. Activities should occur outside to the maximum extent possible.

Youth sports guidance is available here.

Elementary School Waiver Process

Recall, on July 17, Governor Gavin Newsom announced that schools in counties that have been on the County Data Monitoring List within the prior 14 days would only be allowed to conduct distance learning with the ability for elementary schools in those jurisdictions to request a waiver for in-person instruction. CDPH issued the waiver process on Monday. A district superintendent, private school principal or head of school, or executive director of a charter school may apply for a waiver from the local health officer to open an elementary school for in-person instruction in a county on the monitoring list. The waiver is applicable only to grades TK-6 and must include an attestation that the applicant consulted with parent, labor, and community organizations.

The application must include confirmation that the elementary school reopening plans have been published on the school’s website and must address, at a minimum, specified plans for cleaning and disinfection, cohorting, movement within school, face coverings and protective equipment, health screenings, healthy hygiene practices, contact tracing, physical distancing, staff training and family education, testing, communication plans, and triggers for switching to distance learning.

The process additionally details steps to be taken by local health officials in reviewing and considering school waivers, including an assessment of local COVID-19 epidemiological data, other local conditions, and a consultation with CDPH.

The in-person learning elementary education waiver process is detailed here. The CDPH Waiver Notice for Local Health Jurisdictions is available here and a waiver letter template and cover form are available here.

CDPH’s full press announcement on youth sports and the education waiver process is available here.

Higher Education and Collegiate Athletics

Today, CDPH issued interim guidance for institutions for higher education, including collegiate athletics. The guidance is intended to assist institutions and their communities plan and prepare to resume in-person instruction when appropriate based on local conditions. Institutions of higher education must take steps to minimize the risk of COVID-19 transmission on campus and to protect students, faculty, workers, and families.

A phased reopening of higher education institutions will depend on local conditions, including epidemiologic trends, availability of testing resources, and adequate preparedness and public health capacity to respond to cases and conduct outbreak investigations. Today’s guidance details a series of areas for consideration by institutions of higher education related to use of face coverings, a campus-specific COVID-19 prevention plan, course instruction formats, visitors, and meal service.

The guidance issued today also outlines conditions for collegiate athletics to resume, including use of face coverings, competitions without spectators, and return to play safety plans.

The full higher education guidance is available here. A news release on higher education guidance from CDPH is available here.