Relaxed state guidelines for classroom spacing likely won’t have an immediate effect

22 March 2021

Relaxed state guidelines issued Saturday for California schools could mean some primary grades are back to full-time, in-person instruction before this academic year is out, Sonoma County Schools Superintendent Steve Herrington said.

That’s because the state has decided to align with guidance issued Friday by federal health officials, who now say masked students can sit safely 3 feet apart in class rather than 6 feet, the earlier recommended distance.

For California public school primary students, whose classes should be no larger than 24 students anyway, more proximal seating may allow entire classes to return at once, forgoing the divided cohorts that had been needed to allow for widely spaced students, Herrington said.

But it will still be several days before county and school officials have talked through the state’s weekend announcement and county Health Officer Dr. Sundari Mase tailors recommendation for local schools, Herrington and others said Saturday.

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