Senate-Bill-1479-Implementation-Questions-and-Answers_11-15-22 Senate Bill 1479 Implementation Questions and Answers

​​​​​​​​​​This Q&A is no longer in effect and is for historical purposes only.

Senate Bill 1479 Implementation Questions and Answers

Background​​​​​​​​​​​

Senate Bill (SB) 1479 (Pan, Chapter 850, Statutes of 2022), which goes 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 Testing Framework for K–12 Schools for the 2022–2023 School Year and in COVID-19 Public Health Guidance for K–12 Schools to Support Safe In-Person Learning, 2022–2023 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 sign up to receive CDPH School Testing emails.   

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 with confirmatory molecular testing  

Additional services are currently provided on a limited or as-needed basis: 

  • Free personnel support for eligible school districts granted on an equity basis 
  • Free support for outbreak response with OTC tests 

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 COVID-19 Public Health Guidance for K–12 Schools to Support Safe In-Person Learning, 2022–2023 School Year. It also permits adoption of this Testing Fr​​​​​amework for K–12 Schools for the 2022–2023 School Year (Framework) 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 Framework.

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?  

Yes.  

Are LEAs required to maintain on-site testing programs? 

No, the bill specifies that testing plans are not required to include onsite 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, vendor support, 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 CA testing Task Force, at schooltesting@cdph.ca.gov​​​​​​


Originally published on November 15, 2022​​