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How will San Diego schools handle updated CDC guidance on social distancing in schools at 3 feet?

Some local districts say they will still operate under the 6-foot guidance.

SAN DIEGO COUNTY, California — The CDC announced Friday it has relaxed social distancing guidelines for schools, saying students can safely sit 3 feet apart -- down from 6 feet -- as long as masks are worn.

The revision paves the way for more schools to open.

Still, some local districts tell News 8 they don’t plan to make any changes, at least not right away.

"That doesn't change how we will operate. We will continue operating with the higher safety standard," said Anthony Millican, spokesperson for the Chula Vista Elementary School District.

Millican says that higher standard is six feet of distance between desks, something the district and teachers union have already agreed to when schools reopen April 12.

"It's what they felt comfortable with. It's what we feel comfortable with. It's what our community as a whole feels comfortable with at this moment in time," Millican said.

Over at Poway Unified, there's also a 6-foot rule in place where practicable, which at this point will remain.

Some kids there are already back inside classrooms.

Spokesperson Christine Paik says changing existing plans will take time, and collaboration amongst school site principals, teachers and staff.

"There's a lot of pivoting and that's kinda been the term for this entire pandemic. You make your plans, guidance changes and you have to remake your plans and so we're working on that right now and hope to have a revised reopening for our board to vote on on April 8th," Paik said.

Specifically, the new CDC guidelines say instead of 6 feet, 3 feet between desks is now OK as long as students are wearing masks, and in communities with low, moderate or substantial spread.

In high spread areas, 6 feet is recommended only for middle and high school kids.

The revised guidelines follow the release of several studies, including ones conducted in both Utah and Massachusetts, which found transmission rates were low in classrooms where students sat three feet apart.

"Layered mitigation strategies including masks and three feet of distance were common factors that demonstrated decreased transmission from COVID-19," CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said.

The CDC says there should still be 6 feet of distance between teachers and students and in areas outside the classroom.

What complicates this in California, the state's Department of Public Health has its own spacing guidelines, which call for at least 4 feet, but, a local judge recently granted a temporary restraining order, saying the CDPH cannot enforce any spacing rules.

That case is still ongoing.

WATCH: State budget cuts and the future of California schools


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