Public health OKs in-person services for small cohorts

September 7, 2020
The California Department of Public Health has issued new cohorting guidance that would allow in-person child supervision and limited instruction for at-risk and high-need students.  This latest guidance, issued Aug. 25, would allow elementary schools that cannot open for in-person learning due to being on the state’s coronavirus watch list and have not received a waiver, to provide supervision and care to students, including specialized services for students with disabilities and English learners, access to internet and devices for distance learning, and in-person support.  According to analysis by ACSA’s Governmental Relations team, the major components of the guidance are: 
  • The cohort size cannot be any larger than 14 children and youth and two supervising adults. The cohorts can be divided into subgroups as long as the 14-to-2 ratio is not exceeded. 
  • The number of cohorts will depend on the school’s enrollment size and available building capacity; the number of students on a given school site should generally not exceed 25 percent of the school’s enrollment size or available building capacity. 
  • Cohorts should not mix or interact, including interactions between staff assigned to different cohorts. 
  • Supervising adults should be assigned to one cohort and must work solely with that cohort. Avoid changing staff assignments to the extent practicable. 
  • One-to-one specialized services can be provided to a child by a support service provider that is not part of the cohort. Services include: occupational therapy, speech and language services, and other medical or education services.
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