March 20, 2021
Dear Superintendents and School Leaders,

Today the state officially updated its COVID-19 and Reopening In-Person Instruction Framework & Public Health Guidance for K-12 Schools in California to align with the latest advice from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of 3 feet of physical distancing. 

The state's updated guidance strongly recommends distancing of at least 3 feet for students in classrooms. Specifically, it reads:

Maximize space between seating and desks. Distance teacher and other staff desks at least 6 feet away from student and other staff desks. Maintaining a minimum of 3 feet between student chairs is strongly recommended. A range of physical distancing recommendations have been made nationally and internationally, from 3 feet to 6 feet. Considerations for schools implementing a shorter physical distancing policy between students: focus on high mask adherence—if there are doubts about mask adherence, consider more robust physical distancing practices; consider enhancing other mitigation layers, such as stable groups or ventilation; maintain 6 feet of distancing as much as possible during times when students or staff are not masked (e.g., due to eating or drinking). 

The updated guidance also renders all schools eligible to open if case rates are below 25 per 100,000 population. In all tiers, schools that have not yet opened must post their COVID-19 Safety Plan online five days before reopening. 

Because of the temporary restraining order in A.A. v. Newsom, et al, schools should carefully consider their options and understand that requirements are subject to change.

Thank you for all you are doing during these unprecedented times. As always, please let me know if you have any questions or need support.


Dr. Paul Gothold
San Diego County Superintendent of Schools
phone: 858-295-6641