Approved School Waivers

Approved School Waivers

Public School District/Faith-Based Schools/Private Schools/Charter Schools

Update January 14, 2021

The State of California updated its COVID-19 reopening in-person instruction framework and public health guidance for K-12 schools on January 14, 2021. This process replaces the State’s Elementary School Waiver.  All school waivers approved prior to the State’s current framework remain valid. No new school waiver applications will be considered.

Schools and school districts within the jurisdiction of the City of Pasadena Public Health Department must submit the required waiver application and supporting documentation using the online application. Each school must provide the following information on the online application:

  • Name of school that will provide in-person learning to accommodate students in grades TK-2 and proposed re-opening date
  • Name, phone number, email and address of the school Superintendent or equivalent Administrator
  • Contact information of the School Compliance Officer and School COVID-19 Compliance Task Force members
  • Total enrollment (of all students attending online and in-person)
  • Grades proposed for in-person learning
  • Total fixed number of students that will be returning for in-classroom instruction per grade in small, stable, cohorts
  • The maximum number of administrators, administrative support staff, teachers, potential substitute teachers, and other employees that will be on campus
  • Anticipated schedules for in-classroom instruction (full time in-classroom; partial distance/partial in-classroom with specific hours) and description
  • Aggregate demographic data of staff, teachers, and students including:
    • Total number of faculty and staff employed by the school and total number of students enrolled in the school
    • For faculty and staff working on-campus and students who will be attending in-person instruction, the percent of each group that are Pasadena residents, non-Pasadena Los Angeles County residents, or residents of other health jurisdictions
    • Distribution of household income by student household, including distribution of student household zip codes and percentage of students who qualify for free or reduced lunch
    • Race/ethnicity of students, faculty and staff
    • Total number and percentage of children with special healthcare or learning needs
  • Total number and percent of students who will be attending in-person instruction living with immunocompromised family members or adults over the age of 60 years
  • Attestation from the Superintendent or equivalent Administrator that she/he consulted with labor, parent organization(s), and community organization(s) about the public health protocol requirements and school reopening process.
  • The Superintendent or equivalent Administrator must provide signed and dated letters of support from each partner organization the school has consulted with about its reopening process.
    • All labor unions with workers at the schools re-opening for in-classroom instruction. If no labor union exists, a letter of support or description of the consultation process by organizations representing teachers and other staff. If no representative organization(s) exists, then provide a letter of support signed by the majority of teachers and other staff at the school(s).
    • Parent organization(s) at the school(s), such as a Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) or affiliated parent groups that provide parents with forums and resources to enhance children and family educational enrichment, must provide a letter of support.
    • Community organization(s), which include school-based non-profit organizations and local organizations that support student enrichment, recreation, after-school programs, health services, early childhood services or provide family support, must provide letters of support.
  • Signed Public Health Reopening Protocol Checklist
  • Signed Exposure Management Plan
  • Surveillance and outbreak testing plan that documents planned frequency of testing of staff (and students, if testing of students in plan), type of test proposed, contracted laboratory (included copy of contract), name of MD (physician) ordering the tests, and description of HIPAA compliant data storage system
  • Influenza vaccination plan that documents a detailed description of the influenza vaccination promotion program, planned tracking system for flu vaccine, methods of making flu vaccine available to and/or required for all staff and students. Explain your goal influenza vaccination rate and what your plan is to achieve that goal.
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) supply plan that describes the applicant school’s specific PPE needs (types and estimated quantities) and identifies the source the applicant purchases its PPE from in order to maintain at minimum a 14-day on-campus supply.
  • Communication plan that attests the School Compliance Officer’s review of the sample School Exposure Notification letter template on the Protocol for COVID-19 Exposure Management Plan in K-12 Schools.


Schools and school districts within the jurisdiction of the City of Pasadena Public Health Department must submit the required waiver application and supporting documentation online using the online application . The application must include all components listed on the online application. The school is required to publish the full elementary school reopening application on the website of the local educational agency (or equivalent). If applying on behalf of a school district, the applicant should submit a consolidated application and publish a plan for elementary schools in the district that are seeking to reopen for in-person instruction. If applying for a private, faith-based, or charter school, the applicant should submit an application and publish a plan for each school.

  1. Pasadena Public Health will review the application for completion and consider the following:

Health & Safety

    • Local health guidance, including appropriate requirements consistent with CDPH guidance
    • Safety plans and availability of appropriate PPE, as recommended by the local health officer and CDPH guidance, for all elementary teachers and staff who will be involved in in-person instruction
    • Availability of public health & school resources for COVID-19 investigation and response

Local epidemiological data & health care capacity

    • Current new case rate, testing % positivity trends, and the number and degree of indicators above thresholds to be on the monitoring list
    • Local hospitalization trends and hospital capacity
    • Any other local conditions or data contributing to inclusion on the monitoring list (e.g., out of jurisdiction hospitalizations, enclosed outbreaks, etc.)


    • Availability of testing resources within the community and, as applicable, via employee health plans to provide access to periodic testing to all elementary teachers and staff, with reasonable turn-around times

Other Consideration(s)

    • The extent to which the school, school district, or system of private, faith-based, and charter schools has consulted with relevant labor, community, and parent organizations, as applicable.
  1. Pasadena Public Health will consult with CDPH through submission of a CDPH form that demonstrates that the local health officer has considered the elements described above and includes the local Health Officer recommendation for approving or denying the waiver request.

Each waiver application will be considered unique and therefore a specific timeframe of granting waiver approval cannot be made. Following review, the Pasadena Public Health Officer will consult with CDPH regarding the determination whether to grant or deny the waiver. Consultation with CDPH is accomplished by submitting a notice pursuant to CDPH instructions. CDPH will acknowledge receipt of the notice and follow up if there are any questions or concerns. CDPH will provide technical assistance as requested. If the Pasadena Public Health Officer has not received a further response within three business days of submission, the waiver application may be approved or denied consistent with CDPH instructions.

The Pasadena Health Officer may conditionally grant an application with limits on the number of elementary schools allowed to re-open or allow re-opening in phases to monitor for any impact on the community. Once a decision has been made, the PPHD will notify the district superintendent or equivalent accordingly.

Schools with approved waivers will have information posted on their own website and PPHD website, including:

  • Approved application, confirmed listing of each labor, parent and community organization the school applicant has consulted with for the waiver, and all submitted planning documentation in compliance with the City of Pasadena Schools and School-Based Programs K-12 - Public Health Reopening Protocol (Rev. 08/07/2020)
  • Signed attestation by superintendent or equivalent confirming protocols with have been implemented and who to contact for issues with adherence
  • Exposure Management Plan with school administrator’s signed attestation
  • Report of any outbreak at a school

Checklist component definitions

  • Public Health Reopening Protocol Checklist: Schools and school-based programs must implement all applicable measures listed on the protocol checklist and be prepared to explain why any measure that is not implemented is inapplicable to the campus. Superintendent or equivalent must designate one individual to be in charge of planning and implementation of all protocol requirements.
  • Exposure Management Plan (EMP): PPHD requires the immediate implementation of an EMP when a single case of COVID-19 is identified at a school can accelerate the ability to contain the spread of infection and prevent outbreaks from occurring.
  • Surveillance testing plan: PPHD requires the immediate implementation of a surveillance testing plan that will support public health officials, health care providers, and laboratories in determining who should be tested given the current context of the COVID-19 pandemic in California.
  • Outbreak testing plan: PPHD requires the immediate implementation of an outbreak testing plan that plan that identifies steps that will be taken immediately upon notification of school officials that any member of the school community (faculty, staff, student or visitor) tests positive for, or has symptoms consistent with COVID-19
  • Influenza vaccination and compliance plan: PPHD requires the immediate implementation of an influenza vaccination and compliance plan that includes vaccine education, promotion, and documentation of completed, and current vaccination. The plan will require influenza immunization for all students and staff unless contraindicated by documented medical exemption for flu vaccine, prior to or at the beginning of the flu season (typically starts November 1).
  • Proof of completed contact tracing training: Schools must enroll staff in the free, state-provided contact tracing training course prior to reopening.
  • PPE Requirement (14 day supply) and burn rate calculator: PPHD requires schools must maintain a 14-day supply of personal protective equipment (PPE), such as eye and face protection, gloves, masks, gowns, etc. for all staff upon reopening. Schools must also calculate their average PPE consumption rate to estimate how many days a PPE supply will last given current inventory levels and PPE burn rate.
  • Triggers for Switching to Distance Learning Plan: The criteria the superintendent or equivalent will use to determine when to physically close the school and prohibit in-person instruction.
  • Communication plan: Each school site should designate a liaison – the school nurse, if applicable – to help coordinate monitoring and communications to the Pasadena Public Health Officer, as well as the school community. The liaison should monitor and report positive cases, and track whether the school approaches the 5% threshold for closing a school during a 14-day period.
  • COVID-19 School Compliance Task Force and School Compliance Officer: Members trained and prepared to implement the Exposure Management Plan.

Demographic data: Data must include the percentage of students, staff, and teachers who are Pasadena residents

  • What are the waiver approval process and the criteria in determining whether PPHD will grant a waiver? What is the estimated turnaround time from submitting a waiver application to receiving a decision?
    • PPHD hesitates to speculate about how long the application review process will take since CDPH has not yet posted its official forms and guidance.
  • Would supervised Remote Learning be allowed on campus?
    • More specifics are needed from Essential Services.
  • How realistic is it that Los Angeles County will meet the 14-day threshold to be removed from the State’s monitoring list?
    • At this point, as positivity rates continue to exceed thresholds, it appears highly unlikely that Los Angeles County will be removed from the State’s monitoring list.
  • Based on the risk of exposures, how carefully must schools need to monitor COVID-19 symptoms, especially during flu season?
    • Anybody who displays COVID-19 symptoms must be treated as having the virus, even if they may not have it. PPHD requires all symptomatic individuals to quarantine for 14 days. Testing for COVID-19 is permitted during the quarantine period, however, regardless of test results, the quarantine must be maintained.
  • What are the differences between isolation and quarantine?
  • Isolation separates those infected with a contagious disease from people who are not infected while Quarantine restricts the movement of persons who were exposed to a contagious disease in case they become infected.
  • Will school employees have access for COVID-19 testing?
    • The school is expected to provide or ensure testing for all staff that have had a possible exposure and must follow the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance for cleaning and disinfecting the campus. Testing resources can be found by calling the individual’s physician, and also at and
  • Are faculty allowed to teach remotely on campus, from their classrooms? Can those faculty members bring their own children to campus while they teach their classes remotely?
    • Faculty may return to campus but they must maintain safety protocols like those that pertain to office buildings. Schools must refer to their school day care protocols to receive child care clearance.
  • Can students come to campus in small groups if they socially distanced for a tour, or face-to-face opportunity, or assessment, i.e., 5-10 students?
    • Awaiting Essential services response, but Dr. Goh says no
  • May schools take a family on a tour of an empty campus for admissions purposes? Can schools conduct in-person assessments while maintaining all required safety protocols?
    • PPHD recommends schools provide digital-only tours, if possible. PPHD recommends that assessments be conducted remotely, when possible.
  • Guidelines from the state of California require all students in grades 3 and above to wear masks. Does PPHD require masks in K-12 for schools in the Pasadena area?
    • Face coverings are strongly encouraged for young children between two years old and second grade, if they can be worn properly. A face shield with a drape tucked into a shirt is an acceptable alternative for children in this cohort who cannot wear face coverings properly.
  • Is it possible to administer one-on-one standardized testing on campus?  Some students may need this accommodation.
    • While the Governor’s March 18 emergency order suspended standardized testing for SY 2019-20, it remains to be seen whether testing will also be suspended for SY 2020-21.
  • May schools be allowed to conduct one-off orientation events on campus if everyone stays outside with masks and maintains social distancing?
    • Due risk of increased COVID-19 spread, one-off orientation events on campus will not be allowed. PPHD recommends school digital events instead.
  • At what point should schools direct all close contacts with an individual who displays COVID-19 symptoms to self-quarantine? Must schools do this after a suspected case (i.e., a student runs a fever while on campus, resulting in self-quarantining) or only after a confirmed case?
    • It will remain the judgement call of school to determine when a cohort or close contact with the symptomatic individual will be sent home. When schools reopen, surveillance testing is required for all staff and students to be tested within two-month period. Cost of this testing is burden of schools.
  • Are music practice rooms available to for a single student to play an instrument, practice their music, or rehearse if a student adheres to social distancing, wear a mask, and follows other safety protocols?
    • Students going to school to play, practice, or rehearse in practice rooms does NOT qualify as an allowable activity under current state orders.
  • Will contact tracer training be made available to my school staff?
  • CDPH may provide training in future. Johns Hopkins University offers free online courses for COVID-19 Contact Tracing (
  • How often must common areas be disinfected?
  • Common areas and frequently touched objects in those areas (tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, elevator switches and buttons, touch screens, printers/copiers, grab bars, and handrails) are disinfected at least daily and more frequently as resources allow using appropriate products.
  • Why are child care centers and preschools be allowed to remain open but K-12 schools cannot?
    • Child care was deemed an essential service since the outset of the pandemic. Early child education programs first provided emergency child care for essential workers before they transitioned to enhanced regular operations. All child care providers must apply new and updated policies and requirements and must update their emergency preparedness plans.
  • Does the restriction on standardized testing apply to College Board testing?
  • The College Board will administer tests beginning in September 2020. For more information about the College Board’s test administration, visit their website.
  • What organizations qualify as community organizations?
  • Examples of community organizations include school-based non-profit organizations and local organizations that support student enrichment, recreation, after-school programs, health services, early childhood services or provide family support.
  • Which community organizations, parent groups, and labor will superintendents or equivalent need to consult with to fulfill the required waiver application component?
  • All labor unions with workers at the schools re-opening for in-classroom instruction will need to be consulted. If no labor union exists, a letter of support or description of the consultation process by organizations representing teachers and other staff will need to be submitted. If no representative organization(s) exists, then a letter of support signed by the majority of teachers and other staff at the school will need to be submitted. Parent organization(s) at the school(s), such as a Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) or affiliated parent groups that provide parents with forums and resources to enhance children and family educational enrichment. Community organizations may include school-based non-profit organizations and local organizations that support student enrichment, recreation, after-school programs, health services, early childhood services or provide family support. Letters from Boards of Trustees, if applicable, will also be welcomed.
Date of ApprovalSchool NameSchool AddressWaiver Applications
November 20, 2020New Horizon School651 N. Orange Grove BlvdSchool Waiver Approval New Horizon School
November 19, 2020St. Andrew Catholic School42 Chestnut StSchool Waiver Approval St Andrew Catholic School
November 17, 2020Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary School2660 E. Orange Grove BlvdSchool Waiver Approval Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary School
November 16, 2020International School of Los Angeles30 Marion AveSchool Waiver Approval International School of Los Angeles
November 16, 2020Mayfield Junior School405 E. Euclid AveSchool Waiver Approval Mayfield Junior School
November 6, 2020Pasadena Christian School1515 N. Los Robles AveSchool Waiver Approval Pasadena Christian School
November 6, 2020Walden School74 S. San Gabriel BlvdSchool Waiver Approval Walden School
November 2, 2020Polytechnic School1030 E. California BlvdSchool Waiver Approval Polytechnic School
October 30, 2020St. Philip the Apostle School1363 Cordova StSchool Waiver Approval St Philip the Apostle
October 26, 2020Chandler School1005 Armada DrSchool Waiver Approval Chandler School
October 26, 2020Sequoyah School535 S. Pasadena AveSchool Waiver Approval Sequoyah School
October 22, 2020High Point Academy1720 Kinneloa Canyon RoadSchool Waiver Approval High Point Academy