This page is designed to consolidate risk management information and resources into one place. We hope this will answer many of your safety, prevention and liability-related questions.

  1. Preparing for Return to School resources
  2. Questions from Our Members related to COVID-19
  3. Legal and regulatory issues impacting schools and risk pools
  4. Resources for working and learning from home wellness and cyber safety
  5. Health and safety advice for people and facilities
  6. Partner resources useful information from our business partners
  7. State and local resource hubs public health information and Member websites
  8. Other general information resources related to COVID-19

While we hope to provide as much information as possible, please contact us if you need additional, or individualized, assistance.

Questions from Our Members

Is a doctor's note required to obtain a mask exemption? Is parental or self-attestation permitted to obtain a mask exemption?

Per CDPH Guidance on Face Coverings, "persons with a medical condition, mental health condition, or disability that prevents wearing a mask," as well as "persons who are hearing impaired," are exempt from mask requirements.

Assessing for exemption due to a medical condition, mental health condition, disability that prevents wearing a mask, or hearing impairment is a medical determination and therefore must be made by a physician, nurse practitioner, or other licensed medical professional practicing under the license of a physician. Self-attestation and parental attestation for mask exemptions due to the aforementioned conditions do not constitute medical determinations.

Additionally, per CDPH K-12 Guidance, "persons exempted from wearing a face covering due to a medical condition, must wear a non-restrictive alternative such as a face shield with a drape on the bottom edge, as long as the condition permits it."

What are the masking requirements at school board meetings where students are present?

Answer from From Patti Eyres:

Reading the following two guidance documents together, it appears that districts may (indeed, must) require all patrons at board meetings to wear masks when any students are present. This is regardless of the patrons’ vaccination status. The K-12 guidance does not distinguish between “adults” who are employees and adults who are visitors, parent volunteers, vendors, or patrons at an indoor meeting where they share space with K-12 students.

First guidance: The CA Department of Public Health (CDPH) K-12 guidance issued on 7-13-21 specifies that all adults must be masked in school settings where students are present. Thus, students and adult employees must wear masks in any setting where district students are present and the adults are sharing that indoor space with students.

Second guidance: The CDPH public meeting guidance provides that unvaccinated people must wear masks and the district may, at its discretion, require all patrons to wear masks (as opposed to requiring proof of vaccination of self-attestation).

See the relevant guidance text below – highlighted with the provisions that we are reading together.

CDPH K-12 guidance Safety Measures for K-12 Schools issued 7/13/21

Masks

1. Masks are optional outdoors for all students in K-12 school settings.

2. K-12 students are required to mask indoors, with exemptions per CDPH face mask guidance.  Adults in K-12 school settings are required to mask when sharing indoor spaces with students.

CDPH Public Meeting guidance issued 6/14/21

1. Boards and commission meetings are indoor public settings, so unvaccinated individuals are required to wear masks.

  • 2. As venue operators, boards and commissions may choose to:

a. Provide information to all patrons, guests and attendees regarding vaccination requirements and allow vaccinated

individuals to self-attest that they are in compliance prior to entry.

    • b. Require proof of vaccination.

c. Require all patrons to wear masks.

Once an employee is vaccinated, must the Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS) still be followed for vaccinated persons?

From DIR enforcement: For now, all prevention measures under the ETS must continue to be implemented. DIR is aware of the CDC and CDPH guidance on this issue. The impact of vaccines will likely be addressed in a future revision to the ETS, but the rulemaking process is slow. The Governor may issue an Executive Order with immediate effect but has not yet done so.

Are employees who contract COVID-19 covered under workers’ compensation?

This is a legally complex issue. Compensability will be fact dependent, based on evidence of exposure during the course of employment and increased risk at work compared with the general public. Please see our Frequently Asked Questions regarding the workers’ compensation presumption as defined under SB 1159. Please contact Felecia Lawson in the NBSIA Workers’ Comp Department to discuss specific situations.

In looking at the face mask guidance, we have school employees who must wear shields instead of mask-type face coverings, due to lip reading or other issues. Since we have an educational need for the shields, do we have to do an interactive process?

An interactive process is only required if the employee is seeking an exemption from wearing mask-type face coverings for a medical condition or underlying disability. If the reason for the exemption is because the tasks of the position cannot be effectively performed wearing a mask-type face covering, including a need for the individual or others around the individual to read lips, etc., there is no requirement to do an interactive process UNLESS the individual is claiming they cannot wear a shield due to an underlying disability.

What NBSIA Employee Assistance Program (EAP) resources are available during the stay at home order to support staff health and well-being?

EAP services through MHN are available 24/7 via telephone and web video, including care provider visits and Critical Incidence Response Services (CIRS). Keep in mind that wait times may be longer than usual due to high demand. Also, all on-site EAP training has been suspended through April 30th. MHN has provided some resources to support those transitioning to working from home, available on our EAP webpage.

Is there a telehealth option for injured workers who cannot, or wish to avoid, travel to a medical office (updated 3/18/2020)?

Here is what we know as of today. For all Kaiser locations - all new and return visits will be defaulted to a telehealth visit. In-person visits will only be scheduled if the physician determines a telephone/video visit would be detrimental to the patient's immediate needs. North Bay Occ Health is doing telephone appointments case-by-case; they want new injuries to be seen in-person. Dignity/Woodland Healthcare status is still unclear, although we believe they can offer video visits. For specialty providers, this option would depend on their willingness and capability to provide telehealth. Patients should check with their health care providers.

What chemicals can we use to clean? And what about pesticide regulations and training?

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has produced a list of registered products that are useful against COVID-19. Please remember to have Safety Data Sheets available. The CA Department of Pesticide Regulation Integrated Pest Management (IPM) site has information about use of disinfectants and hand sanitizers in schools, and links to free IPM training (registration required).

Legal and Regulatory Issues

Read NBSIA's most recent Member Alert regarding Cal-OSHA's ETS 3205 requiring students to be counted in identifying and reporting outbreaks at school sites. You can also check out Member Alerts regarding SB 1159 and AB 685 on workers' comp presumption, notification and reporting from September 2020 and October 2020.

NBSIA Legislative Update. Report by Julianne Broyles, Strategic Research and Communications, on the impact COVID-19 is having on CA state legislative activities, including policy making and the state budget.

The National Conference of State Legislatures has provided an in-depth review of the COVID-19 stimulus bill, the CARES Act, and what it means for states. You can access their review, and an estimate of each state's allocation, here.

Resources for Working and Learning from Home

Cyber Security: For information and resources to help keep you and your data safe, as well as information on what to do in response to a security breach, please visit our Cyber Resources page.

Health and Safety Advice

OSHA's Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19 includes information on developing an infectious disease/preparedness plan, and a method to determine if your workers are considered a low, medium or high exposure risks.

Guidelines to keep District sites and campuses protected during the shutdown.

Remember there are regulations around the use of pesticides in schools including hand sanitizers, disinfectant sprays and wipes and having access to associated safety data sheets. For more information: Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) Integrated Pest Management (information about use of disinfectants and hand sanitizers in schools, and links to IPM training, free registration required)

Approved Registered EPA Products

CDC Cleaning and Disinfection Recommendations

CDC Printable Posters on Hand Washing (age-appropriate versions)

CDC Steps to Prevent Illness (including hygiene and what to do if you are sick)

Partner Resources

Travelers Insurance continues to build resources and support for the return to operations. While most of these resources target business, the information is transferable to school properties. The Resources page is available without any registration required on their public site.

The Department of Justice has provided some safety guidelines and tips for helping to keep children safe with the increase in online exposure.

Coping with the COVID-19 Pandemic - Frequently Asked Questions and Answers for School District and County Offices of Education. Attorney Patti Eyres of the Eyres Law Group, has created this invaluable resource for district and county office leaders. Using the interactive table of contents, educational leaders can get the well-informed, researched answers they need most. For further questions about leaves, accommodation requests, and related employment issues, contact Patti Eyres, our EPL Hotline partner. Phone at 602-448-4051.

Target/Vector Solutions is now offering a series of webinars and courses on different topics related to COVID-19. This includes transitioning to working from home, managing stress and anxiety, and virus information. Some topics will require a log-in; ask your administrator for access.

The U.S. Department of Education has also compiled a website of resources and pertinent information as it relates to COVID-19, schools and school personnel.

State and Local Resource Hubs

Solano County Public Health
Napa County Health and Human Services
Yolo County Health and Human Services
Benicia Unified School District
Calistoga Joint Unified School District
Davis Joint Unified School District
Dixon Unified School District
Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District
Howell Mountain Elementary School District
Napa County Office of Education
Napa Valley Unified School District
Solano County Office of Education
St. Helena Unified School District
Travis Unified School District
Vacaville Unified School District
Vallejo City Unified School District

Other General Information and Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
California Department of Public Health
CDC Guidance for Schools