Gov. Gavin Newsom is expected to announce Friday that all public and private schools in California counties on the state’s monitoring list for rising coronavirus infections would be required to close for in-class instruction and meet strict criteria in order to reopen.
Under the expected guidance, children in kindergarten through 2nd grade who are being taught in classrooms would be encouraged, but not required, to wear masks. That’s according to several participants in discussions with administration officials and others familiar with the guidance. However, students in grades 3 to 12, along with staff, would be required to wear them. Those who refuse could be sent home to be taught exclusively via distance learning.
Students would be encouraged to stay as far apart as possible, but would not be required to maintain the 6 -foot distance expected of staff.
The guidance would represent a marked shift from leaving decisions over closing and reopening schools largely in the hands of local school district officials in consultation with county departments of health. The California Department of Public Health would now play a stronger role in setting the criteria for reopening school facilities.
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