Washington Gov. Jay Inslee says the state is adopting new school distancing recommendations from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“That guidance will allow schools to return with less space to have to be reserved in the classroom, approximately three feet instead of six," he said.
"This is very important because schools have been limited now by this six foot requirement. Due to spatial requirements, it has not allowed them to return to normal everyday activities in the classroom," he said.
That six foot requirement has kept many middle and high schools from bringing all students back five days a week. They’ve had to settle for hybrid schedules.
Lacy Fehrenbach, the state’s deputy health secretary, says students should maintain six feet of distance at school in some instances. Those include meal times, during activities such as playing instruments and singing or when they’re in large numbers in common areas. She also recommends adults keep their six feet of distance.
Fehrenbach says studies from other states have shown virus transmission within schools is minimal, even with three foot spacing. But to achieve that, she says schools must continue to enforce masking and consistently clean classrooms and other public spaces.