The COVID-19 and Reopening In-Person Instruction Framework & Public Health Guidance for K-12 Schools in California, 2020-2021 School Year (January 14, 2021) was updated on March 20, 2021 to reflect changes to: (1) reopening criteria for K through 12th grades, (2) posting and submission requirement for the COVID-19 Safety Plan (CSP), and (3) the minimum distancing requirement among students. In particular:
- Schools may reopen grades K-12 for in-person instruction in all tiers under the Blueprint for a Safer Economy, provided only that the county adjusted case rate is less than 25 per 100,000 population per day (which is currently the case for every county in the State). Even if the case rate subsequently exceeds 25 per 100,000 per day, schools will still have a three-week window to reopen.
- Schools in the Yellow, Orange, or Red Tiers that have not yet reopened must complete and post the CSP at least 5 days prior to providing in-person instruction. Schools in the Purple Tier that have not reopened must do the same, and must additionally submit the CSP to their local health department and the State Safe Schools for All Team at least 5 days prior to providing in-person instruction. (Under the January 14 version of the Framework, this was required 8 business days in advance of reopening for schools in the Purple Tier.)
- The previous 4-feet minimum distancing requirement has been modified to a “strong recommendation” to maintain a minimum of 3 feet between student chairs. The 6-feet minimum distancing between teacher and other staff desks and student and other staff desks is still in place.
These changes seem not only to facilitate school reopening now, but likely signal a return to full in-person instruction in the Fall. These changes also appear to supersede key provisions of the Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) (barring enforcement of the State’s school reopening guidance), which was recently issued by a San Diego County Superior Court judge.
For additional information on the COVID-19 and Reopening In-Person Instruction Framework & Public Health Guidance for K-12 Schools in California, 2020-2021 School Year, please see our previous alert here.