CDPHE (Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment), CDE (Colorado Department of Education) and the Governor’s Office worked together to develop this guidance for Local Public Health agencies (LPHAs) and districts as they develop school plans. The guidance has been drafted in light of evolving scientific knowledge about the spread of COVID-19 among children and in schools, as well as real-world disease control knowledge acquired through months of experience at the state and local level. Input has been solicited from both internal and external stakeholders, and their invaluable comments and suggestions have been instrumental in
developing practical, broadly applicable guidance. The guidance is organized by the level of COVID-19 incidence in the community: Stay at Home (high level of COVID-19), Safer at Home (mid-level of COVID-19), and Protect Our Neighbors (lower level of COVID-19).



People across the United States are eager to return to some semblance of “normal.”
To do so, we must meet a herculean challenge: remaking our society and the places
in our lives we hold dear—public schools and colleges, places of worship, workplaces,
restaurants and more—in ways that hold paramount our ultimate priorities: the safety
and well-being of our children, families and communities; the safety of our members
and every frontline worker; and the health of our economy and economic well-being of
working families.
Physical distancing efforts have slowed the rate of COVID-19 infections, but no expert
believes we will eradicate this virus without a vaccine. Reopening prematurely by
relaxing stay-in-place restrictions and resuming large public gatherings runs the risk of
undoing the work of the last two months. A premature return to full commercial activity
risks a second surge of infections and second lockdown as is happening in Singapore
right now. Even once public health officials deem it safe to reopen, doing so without the
necessary precautions could be deadly.
This document provides a roadmap for navigating the next steps. It provides specific
guidance for transitioning from lockdowns to other public health tools to limit the
transmission of COVID-19. It focuses on reopening school buildings in particular, because
the safe reopening of public school buildings means students can go to school, and
parents, who work outside the home, can go to work. That is key to the reopening of the
broader economy.1
We expect the plan to evolve and adapt over time. It rests on five pillars that draw on
the best available science and public health guidance, and the expertise of educators and
health practitioners. Gradually, responsibly and safely reopening society requires:

  1. Maintaining physical distancing until the number of new cases declines for at least 14 consecutive days. Reducing the number of new cases is a prerequisite for transitioning to reopening plans on a community-by-community basis.
  2. Putting in place the infrastructure and resources to test, trace and isolate new cases. Transitioning from community-focused physical distancing and stay-in-place orders to case-specific interventions requires ramping up the capacity to test, trace and isolate each and every new case.
  3. Deploying the public health tools that prevent the virus’ spread and aligning them with education strategies that meet the needs of students.
  4. Involving workers, unions, parents and communities in all planning. Each workplace and community faces unique challenges related to COVID-19. To ensure that reopening plans address those challenges, broad worker and community involvement is necessary. They must be engaged, educated and empowered.
  5. Investing in recovery: Do not abandon America’s communities or forfeit America’s future. These interventions will require more—not less—investments in public health and in our schools, universities, hospitals, and local and state governments. Strengthening communities should be a priority in the recovery.


Risk-Based Approach to Reopening Schools Amid COVID-19 – Children’s Hospital Colorado

To provide schools with a heightened level of guidance for decision-making in their reopening and operation plans related to COVID-19, Children’s Hospital Colorado has incorporated guidance from available data-based resources with in-house expertise to provide best practice guidelines intended to mitigate risk of COVID-19 transmission in schools.
As it is simply unfeasible to eradicate risk, this guideline consists of tiered high-yield, low-cost practices intended to achieve maximum impact in lowering risk of transmitting COVID-19 among staff, students and families.
Schools are faced with numerous factors impacting decision making; therefore, this guideline is meant to give schools and districts decision-making flexibility to aid in designing reopening strategies specific to them. Further, this guideline acknowledges that risk propositions may be impacted by state orders and rapidly changing regulations from Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment (CDPHE) and local public health departments, as well as school-specific age groups, community needs and varied access to resources.


Phase Guidance for Virginia Schools – Commonwealth of Virginia

The following guidance is intended to mitigate risk of COVID-19 transmission in public and
private prek-12 school settings, while supporting the resumption of peer-to-peer learning and
providing crucial support for parents and guardians returning to work. Schools, working together
with local health departments, have an important role in slowing the spread of diseases and
protecting vulnerable students and staff, to help ensure students have safe and healthy learning
These recommendations should be implemented in accordance with Forward Virginia Blueprint,
any existing Executive Orders, CDC Interim Guidance for Schools and Daycamps, CDC
Considerations for Schools, and in partnership with local and state public health officials. The
school reopening phases are aligned with the existing Forward Virginia phases, through which
the state will progress by monitoring public health data and key measures on disease
transmission, healthcare capacity, testing capacity, public health capacity to trace contacts of
cases, and other relevant factors. Community mitigation strategies (e.g. physical distancing,
enhanced cleaning, etc.) will be necessary across all phases to decrease the spread of COVID-19.
This guidance document, which is aligned with the interim CDC guidance for schools, serves as a
recommendation for Virginia schools to mitigate risks associated with COVID-19. Divisions
should make decisions on implementing such guidance, and assuming additional risk, in
consultation with local health departments and school board attorneys. Public health conditions
and practical limitations may inform decisions to deviate from the guidance. Resources, such as
the CDC Guidance for Schools may also be helpful to communities with no or minimal
community transmission of COVID-19.
This document reflects current guidance and recommendations, and recommendations are
intended to reduce, not eliminate, risk of transmission of COVID-19. Because COVID-19 is a
novel disease, this literature is growing rapidly, and new information is emerging almost every
day. This information is subject to change as more is learned about the prevention and control of



The County of Los Angeles Department of Public Health is adopting a staged approach, supported by science and public health expertise, to enable schools serving students from kindergarten through grade 12 to reopen safely. In addition to the conditions imposed on schools by the State Public Health Officer and the California Department of Education, schools must also be in compliance with these employee and student safety and infection control protocols.
Please note: This document may be updated as new information and resources become available. Go to for updates to this document.
This checklist covers:
(1) Workplace policies and practices to protect employee and student health
(2) Measures to ensure physical distancing
(3) Measures to ensure infection control
(4) Communication with employees, students and families of students and the public
(5) Measures to ensure equitable access to critical services.
These five key areas must be addressed as your facility develops any reopening protocols.


STARTING THE 2020-21 SCHOOL YEAR – Illinois State Board of Education

The COVID-19 pandemic wrought a drastic and unexpected upheaval on Illinois schools and
districts. But with creativity, adaptability, and dedication, Illinois’ leaders, educators, families,
and students rose to the challenge.
This Part Three of the Transition Advisory Workgroup’s recommendations follows Part One,
which focused on closing out the 2019-20 school year, and Part Two, which focused on summer
school and other allowable activities. Part Three now addresses the start of the 2020-21 school
year and the return to in-person instruction.
Since March 17, 2020, Illinois schools and districts have provided students with remote learning
opportunities and continuity of education to the greatest extent possible. However, no amount of technology can replicate the effect of face-to-face interactions and instruction between teachers and students. This Part Three document endeavors to guide schools and districts in transitioning back to in-person learning, while holding paramount the health and safety of students and communities.
ISBE urges schools and districts to plan for and implement the transition to in-person instruction
through the lens of equity. As described in ISBE’s equity statement, “Illinois has an urgent and
collective responsibility to achieve educational equity by ensuring that all policies, programs,
and practices affirm the strengths that each and every child brings within their diverse
backgrounds and life experiences, and by delivering the comprehensive supports, programs, and
educational opportunities they need to succeed.”
This collective responsibility has never been more salient, with the COVID-19 pandemic
exacerbating economic inequalities, heightening the digital divide, and worsening conditions for
students whose mental and physical health and safety was already at risk. The brutal death of
George Floyd and the days of nationwide protests in its wake call upon us as educators to
recommit to eliminating all forms of racism in our school policies. We must be available and
open to hearing students’ concerns. We must root our curricula in the context of what students
see in the world around them. We must value difference.

This is the spirit in which we are providing this Phase 4 guidance. The COVID-19 crisis shook
our structures of teaching and learning to the core, but we have now an opportunity to emerge
stronger and to make lasting changes in the ways we support, teach, connect with, and value each of the 2 million students in our care. This return to school is not “business as usual” but rather the convergence of a new reality in educational excellence in Illinois.


Adapt, Advance, Achieve: Connecticut’s Plan to Learn and Grow Together – Connecticut State Dept. of Education

The following document is provided for local educational agencies (LEAs) as they begin planning
for the fall. Because experts are continuing to learn more about COVID-19 and the conditions
surrounding the pandemic are continually changing, this preliminary guidance will likely
evolve and be amended or supplemented. Individualized considerations based upon unique
circumstances in each school district may also be needed. Each LEA should use this document
as a guide and consult with all relevant stakeholders to determine the best way to proceed
consistent with the requirements.
As Connecticut schools plan to reopen, the guidance and considerations outlined in this
document are grounded in six guiding principles:

  1. Safeguarding the health and safety of students and staff;
  2. Allowing all students the opportunity to return to school full time starting in the fall;
  3. Monitoring the school, students, and staff and, when necessary, potentially canceling
    classes in the future to appropriately contain COVID-19 spread;
  4. Emphasizing equity, access, and support to the students and communities that are
    emerging from this historic disruption;
  5. Fostering strong two-way communication with partners such as families, educators, and
    staff; and
  6. Factoring into decisions about reopening the challenges to the physical safety, social emotional well-being, and the mental health needs of our students when they are not in school.

LEAs should enter into planning understanding that health developments may influence
decisions to transition to a different instructional model.
Specifically, LEAs must balance their planning with contingency plans to provide robust blended
learning or remote blended learning for all grades in the event that a school, district, or region
has to cancel or limit in-person classes due to health precautions. Guidance on standards for
quality blended learning is being developed and will be available on the CSDE website.
While the guiding principles of this document will require all LEAs to approach this with a certain
level of consistency, LEAs retain discretion in implementing the approach to full time reopening.
School boards are encouraged to develop local teams and secure input from all members of
the community regarding the complex approach to resuming classes in the fall. The CSDE will
stand ready to provide technical support and anticipates that this document will be followed by
ongoing support documents, resources, and a variety of templates to assist local planning.


Guidelines for In-Person Instruction at Pre-K to Grade 12 Schools – Reopening New York

This guidance is intended to address all types of public and private (both secular and non-secular) elementary (including pre-kindergarten), middle, and high schools authorized to provide in-person instruction. In addition to the requirements described herein, school districts, boards of cooperative educational services (BOCES), charter schools, and private schools must develop and submit plans to the New York State Department of Health (DOH) and the New York State Education Department (NYSED), or the State University of New York (SUNY) for charter schools authorized by SUNY, for reopening and operating during the COVID-19 public health emergency. Please see “Interim COVID-19 Guidance for Pre-K to Grade 12 Schools” and “Checklist for Pre-K to Grade 12 School Reopening Plans” for more information.
During the COVID-19 public health emergency, district superintendents (for school districts and BOCES) and heads of school (for private and charter schools) are accountable for staying current with any updates to local, state, and federal requirements related to Pre-K to Grade 12 education and activities, and incorporating those changes into their operations.


School Year 20-21 Public Health Planning Guidance – Texas Education Agency

This guidance document is being provided based on the public health situation as we understand it today and takes effect immediately, both for summer school instruction ending the 2019-2020 school year and to help support school systems in planning for the 2020-2021 school year, regardless of whether a school system starts at the date currently planned or the local school board votes to change the school system’s calendar to delay the start of the school year. Changes to the public health situation over the course of the summer may necessitate changes to this guidance.
This guidance addresses:

  • On campus and virtual instruction
  • Administrative activities by teachers, staff, or students that occur on school campuses or
  • Non-UIL extracurricular sports and activities
  • Any other activities that teachers, staff, or students must complete that cannot be
    accomplished virtually
  • Visits by parents and the general public

    It is recommended that after-school providers and other programs that operate in conjunction with campuses follow this guidance in coordination with the campus(es) they serve.