Health and Safety Guidance Update for 2021-2022 School Year

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Dear GGUSD Families,

We are looking forward to welcoming all students back for in-person instruction on August 16.  

As we shared last week, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) issued its updated guidance for K-12 schools which school districts are required to follow in order to operate in-person instruction.   The guidance states that during the 2021-22 school year, masks will no longer be required in ANY outdoor settings, but will be required while in classrooms regardless of vaccination status.  CDPH shared that, by requiring masking indoors, the state was able to modify the physical distancing requirements to facilitate a return to a full time instructional day as well as greatly reduce quarantine restrictions for asymptomatic individuals who may be exposed to COVID-19, thus reducing interruptions to in-person instruction. 

After the new guidance was announced, the state issued additional comments that were highlighted in news and social media and created confusion about the masking requirements. The Orange County Health Care Agency and Orange County Department of Education provided further clarification in a joint letter that local school boards or schools may not implement policies that are less restrictive than the mandates required by CDPH, which are enforceable under the California Emergency Services Act, Government Code 8665. 

We understand that families have different viewpoints on mask mandates in school and we appreciate your support during this difficult time. Those who would like to express their feelings on the subject are encouraged to share their views with the CDPH.   

Further details about masking include:

  • Masks will be optional while entering/exiting campus, as well as during recess, lunch, outdoor PE classes, passing periods between classes, before and after school programs, and athletic events when outdoors.   
  • Teachers and other staff must also wear masks when indoors with students.
  • If a person is exempt from wearing a face mask due to a medical condition or if a face mask cannot be used for instructional or developmental reasons, the person must wear a non-restrictive alternative such as a face shield with a drape on the bottom edge.
  • CDPH stated that it will reassess conditions and determine by November 1 whether to change mask guidelines.  

As we prepare for the new school year, one of the most important tools we have to help keep each other safe is getting vaccinated. While it is not a requirement to return to school, public health authorities strongly encourage anyone age 
12 and older to get vaccinated as an additional layer of safety. Parental consent is required, and people under 18 must be accompanied by a parent/guardian to receive the vaccine.  Vaccines are readily available and details on your nearest vaccine location can be found at COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Channels. For additional information please visit the Orange County Healthcare Agency Vaccine Resources Webpage

The health and safety of our students, families and staff remains a top priority in GGUSD. As we plan for the start of the school year, we will continue to make every effort to foster a safe environment for our GGUSD community.