Cold and Flu Season Information and Tips

UPDATE 2/27/2020 Hello everyone,

The California Department of Education (CDE) is monitoring the situation regarding the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and working closely with agency partners to determine best steps to be prepared. Our priority is to diffuse the fear and reassure our communities that schools are prepared and have plans in place.

The CDE has received several inquiries from media outlets about school preparation if an outbreak of the coronavirus were to occur. Approximately two weeks ago, this guidance document (also attached) from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) was sent to you with a letter from State Superintendent Thurmond.  Please read this CDPH guidance document closely. The CDE strongly encourages all LEAs to follow the CDPH’s recommendations.

The CDE also encourages LEAs to identify plans and protocols for communicating with families and think about learning supports that could be provided during school closure. More information can be found on the CDE’s Crisis Response page

Please note that there have been reports of students and others being stigmatized. We urge schools to ensure students’ and staffs’ privacy to help prevent discrimination.

Any decisions to close schools as a result of the coronavirus would be made by individual LEAs and their respective county health agencies. LEAs should consider these factors, in addition to any other relevant local conditions or concerns, when deciding to close a school.

Additional Resources:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

California Department of Public Health


Emergency conditions and average daily attendance (ADA) funding.

In the event a school closure and/or loss of attendance is health related, school districts, charter schools, and county offices of education may submit a J-13A waiver request to the CDE in order to mitigate the loss of ADA funding. Health related closures must have a letter from the local health department substantiating the closure due to an epidemic. Virus related material decrease requests must meet the 10 percent loss of attendance threshold and have local health department substantiation of an epidemic.

FAQs on the J-13A waiver request forms can be found on CDE’s web site at: J-13A waiver request forms can be found at:

Any impacted school or LEA can contact [email protected] to connect with the CDE team for assistance.

In addition, we received the questions pasted below from Elk Grove Unified. The CDE has reached out to the CDPH for answers. We will update all of you as information becomes available from the CDPH:


Questions to Public Health: 

  • What constitutes an outbreak? One or more than one? 
  • If a child is symptomatic with flu/cold symptoms and (possible known exposure) are they sent home and then can only return with a doctor’s clearance? 
  • Is COVID-19 reportable? 
  • If a family self-quarantines, what are their responsibilities? Do they have to inform their doctor, public health and the school? Or who informs whom? 
  • After quarantine, does a student need to be cleared to return to school? 
  • Are the absences dismissed? If so, do they need a doctor’s note upon return? 
  • Is there any special circumstances we need to know about vulnerable populations? (elderly, special education and related to staff – pregnant staff, or immune sensitive staff?) 
  • Are there preventative measures people should take (i.e. above and beyond hand-washing?) masks?  
  • Should rooms be cleaned if one or more (or whatever number) of students are symptomatic but not confirmed? 
  • When are we obligated to communicate and how broadly? Classroom? Grade level? Entire school? 

UPDATE 2/13/2020: 

Media Link: Updated 1/26/2020

School Link Communication: Updated 1/28/2020

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