Gov. Inslee relaxes social distancing guidelines in schools to 3 feet apart

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Governor Jay Inslee announced on Thursday that schools can relax social distancing guidelines from six feet to three feet effective immediately.

This comes nearly a week after the CDC changed the guidelines, saying it’s safe for students to sit three feet away from each other if they’re wearing masks. Inslee said the six-feet rule should remain in effect for students while they’re eating, as well as between staff and students.

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While three feet is the minimum requirement now, Inslee said schools do have the option to keep desks six feet apart, if they wish. However, for summer and fall classes, Inslee said districts should be using the three-feet rule.

For students attending middle and high school, that are not in specific cohorts, the governor’s office recommends that students should stay six feet apart, especially when community spread is above 200 per 100,000 people. As of Tuesday, the state’s COVID-19 dashboard says Spokane County is at 143.4 cases per 100,000 people.

Inslee said the change was made possible as more people and educators are getting access to the vaccine.

READ: Eastern WA school leaders see difference in students learning remotely versus in person