Here’s what K-12 schools may look like when it’s safe for kids to return

Illustration of school desks
Children may be required to eat lunch at their desk or outside on socially distanced tables.
(Murugiah / For The Times)

We’re answering readers’ questions about life during the pandemic:

What will K-12 students realistically encounter when they can safely return to school?

Figuring out how to safely reopen schools for K-12 students is a highly complicated undertaking as the safety for children, teachers and staff is paramount.


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Aug. 8, 2020

Here are the contours of what students in California will encounter when it’s safe to bring them back to campus:

> Staff and students in grades three through 12 will be required to wear masks. Masks will be encouraged for younger students. Those who can’t comply might be limited to distance learning.

> Classes will likely be smaller so social distancing can be in place.

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> Schedules will likely accommodate smaller classes, with students splitting time between classes on campus and online learning at home.

> On campus, expect one-way routes through corridors and stairwells to limit exposure.

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> Children may be required to eat lunch at their desk or outside on socially distanced tables.

> Playground equipment will likely be off limits.

> Handwashing stations will be set up and students will be given time to wash.

Follow our education team as it covers the road to reopening at


— Times Education Team

We’re listening, L.A.: Tell us what you want to know about the most pressing questions you have at this time — how to find a job, the best ways to manage your finances, and whether it’s safe to send your kids back to school or off to college — and we’ll find the best experts to answer your questions.

July 4, 2020