RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina middle schools and high schools are now able to reopen under less stringent social-distancing requirements between students inside the classroom, state health officials announced Tuesday in an easing of pandemic restrictions.
Revised guidance for schools previously distinguished between elementary school children and older students, with more social distancing restrictions in place for pupils between 6th and 12th grades. But after an update last week from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the state Department of Health and Human Services is now recommending that desks for all K-12 students be spaced at least 3 feet (near 1 meter) apart in classrooms whenever possible.
The new guidance still gives districts the choice to have their middle and high schools operate with daily, in-person instruction under Plan B, which requires 6 feet (1.8 meters) of separation. Regardless of the plan they choose, these schools must mark 6 feet of spacing to remind students to stay apart in lines and whenever congregate, such as at lunch, recess, in break rooms, locker rooms and restrooms. They must also give parents the option of having their child learn remotely.
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