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School District Reopening Guidelines Include Small Classes, Face Masks, Virtual Field Trips, And Half-Empty Buses

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Schools across the Southland and the rest of California will look different if and when they reopen this fall.

California education officials released new safety guidelines Monday that include small classroom sizes, face masks, virtual field trips, half-empty school buses and other changes to protect against the spread of coronavirus.

More: California To Allow Schools, Gyms And Bars Reopen Next Week

"As we prepare to move into the likely reopening of our schools, we provide this guidance as a `how-to,''' State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond said.

The guidelines were announced in a 55-page document titled "Stronger Together: A Guidebook for the Safe Reopening of California's Public Schools,'' which details the need for changes to accommodate physical distancing.

Related: Ahead Of The Upcoming School Year, Here's What Schools Need To Do Before Reopening

The state's guidebook is similar to framework released on May 27 on behalf of Los Angeles County's 80 school districts, according to L.A. County Superintendent of Schools Debra Duardo.

"Both sets of guidelines recognize that the health and safety of students, staff and families must always come first. They are built on the
directives of public health authorities and are subject to change as the health crisis evolves,'' Duardo said.

The guidelines are recommendations only as individual school districts are responsible for developing their own reopening plans.

Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent Austin Beutner previously said any plan for returning to schools must carefully be conducted with health officials, labor partners and families.

"Unfortunately, it's not as simple as wearing masks, moving the desks or putting some painters tape on the floor to keep students further
apart,'' he said last week. "We are continuing to plan for different scenarios, but have made no decision ...We owe it to all in the school community to make sure we do this the right way. You can expect regular updates on this topic and a more definitive plan within the next month or so.''

Schools statewide closed in March due to stay-at-home orders. Reopening dates have not yet been set.

(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)

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