Calif. officials release guidelines for reopening schools

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SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) – State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond held a press conference Monday in which he revealed new guidelines for reopening California schools.

Thurmond, accompanied by other officials with the California Department of Education, discussed topics such as physical distancing, face covering requirements, and symptom screenings.

Officials released a 55-page manual titled “Stronger Together: A Guidebook for the Safe Reopening of California’s Public Schools.”

>>Read the full guidebook here

In addition to requirements for physical distancing, the state plans to supply every school and child care center with no-touch thermometers, hand sanitizer, face shields for every teacher, cloth face coverings for staff and students, and tight-fitting N95 masks for health care professionals in schools.

The state cannot order schools to close, but it can offer recommendations for districts to follow on reopening.

School districts opted to close when Gov. Gain Newsom issued a statewide stay-at-home order and developed distance-learning plans on the fly.

The guidance asks schools to try to keep students 6 feet apart at all times — in class, in the hallways and at recess.

It also says schools should consider installing “portable hand-washing stations” as part of a rigorous hygiene regime urging students and staff to wash their hands before and after eating, coughing, sneezing, being outside and using the restroom.

The state also suggests staggering arrival times to minimize contact between students, staff and families and serving meals in classrooms or outdoors rather than in cafeterias.

It calls for intensified cleaning and disinfecting — at least daily — of frequently touched surfaces on school buses and in buildings, such as door handles, light switches, student desks and chairs.

The updated guidelines comes days after Gov. Newsom announced schools, gyms, and bars can reopen in California this week.

The rules on schools and day camps will apply statewide.

Only counties that have met certain thresholds on the number of cases, testing and preparedness will be allowed to start reopening other parts of the economy this Friday.

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