Dies it feel like we are getting the upper hand against the Coronavirus?  One sign of that is the number of kids who are back in school and now with a new recommendation from the Washington State Department of Health that will allow more kids back at the same time.

One thing that is always a factor when designing and building new schools is space.  How much space do you need to comfortably house the students without building to big for projected growth.

The 6 foot apart social distance requirement meant a lot of schools had to bring kids back in two shifts for in school education but now that's changed and a little less "protective" elbow room is order. The Washington State Department of Health now recommends schools maintain at least 3 feet of distance between students.

As is the case with almost all things COVID related, the numbers will dictate the practice. (follow the science, right?) The Yakima County Health District is reporting recent data showing that Yakima County’s positive case rate is at 191/100,000 people over the last 14 days. As as long as the County continues to remain below 200 cases per 100,000 over a two week period, the schools will continue to require just 3 feet of distance between students .

In a letter to  Yakima County School Administrators, the Yakima Health District (YHD) gives the following guidance:

Staff should continue to maintain six feet of physical distance from other staff and students in classrooms.

  • At least six feet of distance must be maintained for the following circumstances:
  • Between staff in the school building and between adults and students.
  • For all staff and students o In common areas, such as auditoriums.
  •  When masks cannot be worn, such as when eating.
  •  During activities when increased exhalation occurs, such as singing, shouting, band practice, or physical education. -- These activities should be moved outdoors or to large, well-ventilated spaces whenever possible.

While we share in the excitement of being able to provide more opportunities for in-person learning, we must keep in mind that to maintain these opportunities, we must continue to follow the public health recommendations. Schools should still communicate regularly with students, families and staff emphasizing the importance of staying home when sick, maintaining physical distance and hand hygiene.

Here's a look at kids head back to school across the country and around the world.