K-12 School COVID-19 Decision Tree (July 2022)

Decision Tree

Arbol De Cecision

Guidance Summary:

The new K-12 guidance is divided into two primary sections.  The General Considerations section contains six provisions that outline the intent of the guidance, adds context, and references other guidance documents and health orders that impact the K-12 guidance.  The Mitigation Strategies sections is divided into 12 subsections, 11 of which have strategies divided into two categories; required actions and recommended actions.  The guidance contains three required actions; one in the use of facemasks subsection, one in the managing of individuals with symptoms subsection, and one in the reporting COVID-19 disease to local health authorities. 


Below is brief summary of each mitigation strategy subsection –



Staying Up to Date on VaccinationsNew/updated information

              Recommended Action: Stay up to date on COVID-19 vaccines and encourage the families of children that have fallen behind on other vaccines to get up to date.


Optimizing Indoor Air Quality – No new requirements/recommendations.

              Recommended Actions: Follow CDPH recommendations to improve indoor air quality and when outdoor air quality is poor or it is not feasibly to incorporate outdoor air, consider alternatives.

  • Supplemental filtration

  • Higher quality facemasks

  • Alternative spaces

  • Alternative ways to commute

  • Other local factors


Using Facemasks – No new requirements/recommendations.

              REQUIRED ACTIONS: Ensure those that chose to wear a mask are allowed to do so unless it poses a hazard and ensure you have a plan to provide facemasks to those that want them.

              Recommended Actions: Follow the CDPH masking for the general public.


Getting Tested for COVID-19New/updated information

Recommended Actions:  Schools should have testing resources available with a focus on over-the-counter antigen testing and consider proactive testing after school breaks and other high risk events (dances, graduation, etc..)  CDPH will continue to provide support for testing resources. 


Maintaining Clean Hands – No new requirements/recommendations.

              Recommended Action: Promote good hand hygiene.


Managing Individuals with Symptoms - New/updated information

              REQUIRED ACTIONS: Schools must provide COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave.

Recommended Actions: Schools should have criteria for dealing with symptomatic students beyond COVID-19.  In general, students with new and unexpected symptoms should not return to campus until it is clear symptoms are mild and improving or are due to a non-infectious cause (e.g., allergies).  This includes waiting until 24 hours have passed since resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications.  If COVID-19 is suspected, students should wear a mask and get tested immediately. 


Reporting COVID-19 disease burden to local health authorities -  No new requirements/recommendations.

              REQUIRED ACTIONS: Must continue to report COVID-19 cases as indicated by our local health authority. 


Managing Students Diagnosed with COVID-19 -  No new requirements/recommendations.

Recommended Actions: Follow the CDPH guidance for general public. Students diagnosed with COVID-19 should follow recommendations listed in Table 1 (Persons with COVID-19) 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.  Isolation can end after 5 days if students tests negative, symptoms have improved, and they are fever free for 24 hours. 


Managing Students Exposed to COVID-19 -  New/updated information

Recommended Actions: Follow the CDPH guidance for general public and ensure families are notified of exposures.  Exposed students do not need to quarantine so long as they do not develop symptoms, but they should wear a mask for 10 days and test 3-5 days after exposure.  In lieu of individual exposure notifications, schools should consider providing a general notification to the entire school community during times of elevated community transmission of COVID-19.  This communication can alert all to the increased potential of being exposed to COVID-19 due to a rise in cases among school and community members, and remind all to monitor for symptoms and get tested.


Managing COVID-19 Outbreaks – No new requirement/recommendations.

              Recommended Actions: Consult with local health department to discuss outbreak mitigation strategies. 


Cleaning FacilitiesNew/updated information

              Recommended Actions:  General routine cleaning is sufficient.  If disinfectants are used, us asthma-safer products.   Drinking fountains can be used by students and staff. 


Additional Considerations - New/updated information

              This section has no specific recommendations, but does include six considerations for schools to consider when reviewing their COVID-19 protocol.  Each consideration is expanded upon in the full guidance. 

  1. Considerations to address student mental and behavioral health

  2. Considerations for students with disabilities or other health care needs

  3. Considerations for higher risk activities

  4. Considerations for large events at K-12 schools

  5. Considerations for visitors to K-12 schools

  6. Considerations for boarding schools and programs that may operate residential components.


COVID-19 Resources