CALIFORNIA—On Friday, July 17, California Governor Gavin Newsom revealed new rules regarding the reopening of schools in the fall. Schools that can be found on California’s Monitoring List cannot open for in-person instruction until their county has been off the Monitoring List for 14 consecutive days.

This marks a change in California’s previous school reopening plan, which gave school districts the flexibility to form their own reopening systems through communication with local public health officials.

For school districts that have clearance to reopen, new safety regulations will additionally be put into place. This includes the requirement for all staff and students in 3rd grade and above to wear masks on campus, maintain 6 feet of social distance, and undergo testing regularly with dedicated contact tracing for outbreaks at schools.

More than half of California’s 58 counties are on the watch list, including Los Angeles, Ventura, San Bernardino, Riverside, San Diego, and Santa Barbara.

The full list of counties on California’s Monitoring List.

The governor referred to southern California as a “stubborn” part of the state with regard to the high number of coronavirus cases.

He stated that these regulations are non-negotiable and effective schooling should remain the focus of schools:

“The virus will be with us for a year or more, and school districts must provide meaningful instruction in the midst of this pandemic. In California, health data will determine when a school can be physically open — and when it must close — but learning should never stop. Students, staff, and parents all prefer in-classroom instruction, but only if it can be done safely.”

This announcement comes after California’s two largest districts, Los Angeles and San Diego, announced that schools will begin virtually in the fall.