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COVID-19 Status

Safety Comes First

As we celebrate a successful return to school for the 2021-22 academic year, our number one priority continues to be keeping students, staff, and families safe, healthy, and able to attend class each day.

Child and Parent

Scientifically Backed Safeguards


Our schools have implemented a robust assortment of safety measures to protect students, staff, and families, including a massive investment in air filtration and other equipment. In fact, San Diego Unified has installed MERV-8 and MERV-13 filters at 195 locations across the district - more than 7,250 filters in all - to upgrade filtration in classrooms and offices.


These reopening plans and the measures we employ to keep our students and staff safe are based on guidance from the best medical experts available: nationally-recognized scientists and doctors from UC San Diego.


We'd like to make our families aware of the substantial measures that have been put in place to protect the safety of all students, faculty, and staff on our campuses this year, including:

  • Upgraded HVAC filtration from MERV 8 to a MERV 13 or HEPA filter, exceeding current requirements
  • Portable air purifiers for areas not served by a MERV or HEPA filter
  • Face masks required, with more than 1 million masks distributed to schools since reopening in April
  • Handwashing stations and cleaning wipes in multiple locations
  • A particulate sensor and CO2 monitor at each site for monitoring the school’s indoor air quality
  • Electrostatic disinfecting sprayers for cleaning school buses
  • Protocols in place for contact tracing, should it be necessary
  • An up-to-date COVID dashboard on our website

San Diego Unified wants every school to be a place of great teaching and learning, safety and wellness. Vaccinations are a crucial part of the multi-layered protection against COVID-19, and getting your student vaccinated is one of the best ways to protect against the spread of the virus.

The latest vaccine recommendation from the CDC means the vast majority of students in kindergarten through high school are now eligible to be vaccinated against COVID-19, signaling a major step toward preventing the spread of the virus in our community and nationwide.

Under a vaccine mandate approved by the Board of Education, San Diego Unified will require students who are 16 and older as of November 1, 2021 and who wish to continue learning in-person to be fully vaccinated, effective January 24, 2022 at the start of the new semester/quarter. Full FDA approval is in place for this student group.

Students ages 5 to 15 are recommended to receive a COVID-19 vaccine by the FDA and the CDC. San Diego Unified supports this recommendation, but will not require the COVID-19 vaccination for this student group at this time.

Student getting vaccine

We understand you may have questions about the new CDC decision approving vaccinations for students 5 to 11. Please click here for more information on the safety of the vaccinations. Families are encouraged to check with their healthcare providers about getting the vaccine as soon as possible. 

MyTurn.ca.gov offers information about getting a vaccine at Rady Children’s Hospital through walk-in and scheduled appointments. Click here for information on where to get a free vaccine elsewhere in the community.

Our community health partners plan to supplement vaccine availability by offering vaccine clinics on school sites. Check here frequently for current schedules and updates.

Under San Diego Unified’s vaccine mandate for students who are 16 and older as of November 1, 2021, students who are not fully vaccinated by December 20, 2021 will transition from in-person learning to an independent study program at the start of the new semester and quarter on January 24, 2022. To view a district presentation on the mandate, visit this LINK.

All students 16 and older who are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine under the district mandate are required to be vaccinated, excluding those with qualified exemptions or conditional admissions. San Diego Unified does not allow religious exemptions for this particular vaccine.

We understand that not everyone will be ready or comfortable with returning to in-person learning. With that in mind, all San Diego Unified K-12 students have the option to enroll in the new online Virtual Academy for the 2021-22 school year.

Virtual Academy enrollment staff are contacting families who expressed interest in enrollment in a survey that was sent out in May. If your family was unable to fill out the May survey and is still interested in the Virtual Academy, please email virtualacademy@sandi.net with your child’s name, grade level for 2021-22, student ID number, and current school site.

Thank you for doing your part to keep our schools open and ready to support students every day. We look forward to a safe and successful year!