Newsom also said during a Friday (July 17) news conference that schools in counties where the 14-day threshold has not been met must remain closed, but can offer remote learning. All schools will require masking, social distancing and regular testing, he said.
- Let's talk about number one. Using data, using the foundational data that we have laid out county by county all throughout the state of California, we are now putting forth guidelines that say schools can physically open for in-person education when the county that they're operating in has been off our monitoring list for 14 consecutive days.
However, schools that don't meet this requirement, they must begin the school year this fall through distance learning. Number two, and I'm going to get to that in a moment. Number two, we're putting forth a new mask requirement in the state. All school staff and students, all staff and students in third grade and above must wear masks. Students in the second grade or below, we strongly encourage wearing masks and face shields.
Our third frame of guidance that we're putting forth today is around physical distancing, and as I mentioned, other adaptations. So on the physical distancing side, we believe that it's incumbent upon staff to maintain at least a six-foot distance between each other and a six-foot distance between themselves and the students.
We believe that school day should start with symptom checks, meaning temperature checks. We have robust expectations around hand washing stations, sanitation, deep sanitation, deep disinfection efforts. And that these schools have along the lines of the adaptations, have quarantine protocols.
There's a requirement that we test on a rotating basis a cohort of staff on a consistent basis. We want to turn our contact tracing where we think we can be very effective in these school environments, could be very effective in mitigating the spread, and trying to understand exactly where and how the spread had advanced, and allow us obviously to isolate and quarantine cohorts of not only children, but staff as it relates to mitigating that spread further.
As it relates to distance learning, as I said, rigorous. Access to devices is one thing. And connectivity, it's foundational. We want daily live interaction with teachers and other students-- students connecting peer-to-peer with other students, teachers connecting daily in an interactive frame to advance our distance learning efforts.
We also want to create a challenging environment where assignments are equivalent in terms of what you would otherwise get in an in-person class setting. I'm not naive. And again, we stipulate-- that second slide I showed-- that staff, the teachers, that parents prefer the socio-emotional learning of in-class education.
That is a default. That's our bias. But under the circumstances with the spread of this virus-- and I'll get to that spread in a moment as an explanation, again, as to why at this moment we're putting out this recommendation-- that we want to do our best to create some sense of equivalency with the obvious constraints that is distance learning.