By Elisabeth Smith

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — As some students returned to distance learning Monday, the state released new guidance for elementary schools seeking to resume in-person learning.

The majority of schools in California will be conducting distance learning in the coming weeks after Gov. Newsom announced schools in counties that have been on the County Data Monitoring list within the past 14 days may only do distance learning. The state is allowing elementary schools that fall in that category to apply for a waiver that would allow in-person learning.

Guidance released Monday details that waiver process, which allows a district superintendent, private school principal, or executive director of a charter school to apply. The waiver is only available for transitional kindergarten through sixth grade, even if a school includes additional grades.

As part of the application, schools must prove they have consulted with parent, labor and community organizations as well as published reopening plans to the school’s website.

According to the state, the reopening plans must address “plans for cleaning and disinfection, cohorting, movement within school, face coverings and protective equipment, health screenings, healthy hygiene practices, contact tracing, physical distancing, staff training and family education, testing, communication plans and triggers for switching to distance learning.”

Once they’ve received the waiver, the state says the local health officer will consider COVID-related risk in schools serving these students, availability of PPE and testing resources, local conditions and epidemiological data, and whether the in-person learning can be done in small “stable” cohorts. The health officer must then work with the state health department (CDPH) to decide whether to grant the waiver application.

The wavier may be issued conditionally, CDPH said, with limits on the number of schools allowed to reopen.

As of Monday, there are 38 counties on the state’s monitoring list, including Colusa, Placer, Sacramento, San Joaquin, Solano, Stanislaus, Sutter, Yolo and Yuba.

The state also provided guidance for youth sports Monday. Some sports and physical education are now allowed when physical distancing of six feet can be maintained and a “stable cohort of participants,” like a class, stay together. Officials are also advising that activities should take place outside as much as possible.

READ MORE: California Youth Sports Guidelines Finally Released

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