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Orange County Schools Will Continue 6-Foot Spacing, Despite CDC Change

Photo: Jonathan Borba
Photo: Jonathan Borba

The district says there is no plan to reduce social distancing between student desks in classrooms to three feet. 

There is no plan to reduce social distancing between student desks in classrooms to three feet in Orange County Public Schools, despite a change in federal guidelines to to reduce the distance from six feet.

On Friday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its guidance for schools and recommended that, with universal masking, students should maintain a distance of at least 3 feet in classroom settings.

But district spokesperson Scott Howat says infection rates remain low in students and teachers in the district compared to the general population, so the aim is to keep spacing at six feet.

“The CDC guidelines are recommendations, and we currently don’t have any plans to change our current practice which is outlined in the health and safety manual of the district, which says we are going to maintain a maximum distance of six feet when feasible.”

Howat says a mandatory mask mandate for students and staff continues to remain in effect as students return from spring break.

“We think that what we’re doing is working and will continue to work. We’ll look at the three feet distancing obviously as a guideline and take that into consideration," Howat says. "But we’re going to continue to do maximum separation up to six feet as long as possible.”

Meantime, all public, private and charter school staff can now get vaccinated at federal and county sites in Orange County. To sign up for a shot or for a list of vaccine sites in the county, click here.
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