The San Mateo County Office of Education released today an updated edition of its Pandemic Recovery Framework, a tool for helping schools reopen and stay open for in-person learning. The updated framework includes and/or links to recent San Mateo County Health and California Department of Public Health guidance around physical distancing, quarantining, travel, and graduations.

Key updates in the guidance include the following:

  • There should be a minimum distance of three feet between students’ chairs. Previously, the recommendation was six feet. A minimum distance of six feet should be maintained between teachers’ desks and students’ desks. All other mitigation layers must be strictly adhered to. When students or staff cannot be masked (e.g., while eating or drinking), a minimum of six feet of distancing must be observed.
  • Fully vaccinated individuals (with documentation of COVID-19 vaccination completion submitted to San Mateo County Health) who are identified as a close contact of a positive case of COVID-19 are generally not required to quarantine, but a 14-day symptom-watch period is still required.
  • Fully vaccinated individuals are not required to test or quarantine before or after domestic travel unless they have symptoms associated with COVID-19 infection. Fully vaccinated individuals need to complete a COVID-19 test after international travel.
  • All students and staff should be screened for symptoms and exposure prior to entering the school campus. In earlier guidance, the focus was on screening and temperature-taking on campus.
  • Schools may plan for modified graduations following California Department of Public Health Guidance.

“Since the start of the pandemic in early 2020, medical experts and scientists have learned so much more about the spread of COVID-19. The updated guidance reflects this new knowledge and helps schools focus more specifically on behaviors and conditions that are understood to be most effective in mitigating spread of the virus, especially in school settings,” explained San Mateo County Superintendent of Schools Nancy Magee. “This updated guidance allows schools to return more students to campus for in-person learning and to participate in other key activities, like graduation. As stated in San Mateo County Health’s guidance, strict adherence to other safety measures, including masking, remains essential to maintain the safe track record schools have enjoyed to date.”