School supplies. (Special to Bay City News/iravgustin)

The San Mateo County Office of Education on Tuesday released updated guidance for county schools on physical distancing, quarantining, travel and graduation ceremonies.

Available online, the Office of Education’s Pandemic Recovery Framework aligns with guidance from the California Department of Public Health and the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

One of the key changes allows students’ chairs to be a minimum of three feet apart, closer than the previous distance of six feet. However, there must still be a minimum of six feet between teachers’ desks and students’ desks. Students and staff must be a minimum of six feet apart if unmasked — for example, when eating or drinking.

If a fully vaccinated person is identified as a close contact of a positive COVID-19 case but they do not exhibit symptoms, they do not have to quarantine, but a 14-day symptom-watch period is required. Fully vaccinated individuals may continue to attend school and must submit vaccination documentation to San Mateo County Health.

If a fully vaccinated person is identified as a close contact of a positive COVID-19 case, they do not.

Fully vaccinated individuals do not need to test or self-quarantine before or after domestic travel unless they have COVID-19 symptoms. Testing is still required after international travel.

Students and staff should be screened for symptoms at home, before entering the school campus. Prior guidance allowed screening on campus.

Schools may also plan modified graduations aligned with state guidance, available at

San Mateo County Superintendent of Schools Nancy Magee said in a statement that the updated guidance reflects new knowledge that medical experts and scientists have learned since the start of the pandemic.

“This updated guidance allows schools to return more students to campus for in-person learning and to participate in other key activities, like graduation,” Magee said. “As stated in San Mateo County Health’s guidance, strict adherence to other safety measures, including masking, remains essential to maintain the safe track record schools have enjoyed to date.”

The San Mateo County Office of Education’s updated Pandemic Recovery Framework is available at