Senate Bill (SB) 1479 (Pan, Chapter 850, Statutes of 2022), went into effect January 1, 2023, and remains in effect until January 1, 2026, requires the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) to coordinate school COVID-19 testing plans and services. Local educational agencies (LEAs) are encouraged to consult with their counsel and local health departments for further interpretation.
Guidance related to SB 1479
As we continue to mitigate the COVID-19 pandemic, in-person safe learning remains a top priority to support student well-being and development. More information about CDPH's recommendations for school COVID-19 testing is available in the Guidance for K-12 Schools and Child Care Settings to Mitigate the Spread of Communicable Disease, 2023 -2024 School Year.
Learn about CDPH provided testing resources at the CDPH Schools Testing Website, the State of California Safe Schools for All Hub: Testing Section or email the SafeSchoolsTeam@cdph.ca.gov to the School Health update subscription list.
CDPH provides the following to all California public and private schools, including:
Free over-the-counter (OTC)/at-home COVID-19 antigen tests
Free professional COVID-19 testing program for on-site antigen testing for California schools that were actively testing in the program as of Spring 2023.
Questions and Answers
SB 1479 requires, subject to appropriation, each LEA to create a COVID-19 testing plan. What needs to be in the testing plan?
The bill specifies that each testing plan must be consistent with CDPH guidance that is available in the Guidance for K-12 Schools and Child Care Settings to Mitigate the Spread of Communicable Disease, 2023 -2024 School Year. It also permits adoption of the 2023-2024 guidance as a testing plan to meet this requirement.
Can an LEA adopt the CDPH guidance to fully satisfy the requirement of having a COVID-19 testing plan?
Yes, SB 1479 allows LEAs to either create a COVID-19 testing plan or adopt the Guidance for K-12 Schools and Child Care Settings to Mitigate the Spread of Communicable Disease, 2023 -2024 School Year.
Where does the COVID-19 testing plan need to be posted?
The bill specifies that the COVID-19 testing plan or Framework be posted on each LEA's internet website.
What types of LEAs are included in the provisions of SB 1479?
The bill defines LEAs as a school district, county office of education, or charter schools serving students in kindergarten or any grades 1 to 12, inclusive.
Does an LEA's COVID-19 testing plan cover all schools in the LEA?
Are LEAs required to maintain on-site testing programs?
No, the bill specifies that testing plans are not required to include on-site testing.
Are LEAs required to submit the COVID-19 testing plan to CDPH for approval?
No, however, support services are available by CDPH that include, but are not limited to, technical assistance, guidance, monitoring, and testing education.
Do I need to hire someone to track school-related testing?
No, however, SB 1479 says an LEA "may" designate one staff member to report information on its COVID-19 testing program to CDPH.
For any additional questions, concerns, or operational testing needs, please contact CDPH at SafeSchoolsTeam@cdph.ca.gov.
For any additional questions, concerns, contact CDPH at SafeSchoolsTeam@cdph.ca.gov.
Originally published on November 15, 2022