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School distancing rules make lunch challenging

How does the new guidance that says schools must make sure there’s at least 3 feet of physical distance between students (instead of 6) impact meals on school grounds?

— Anonymous

It doesn’t, because Oregon’s Ready Schools, Safe Learners guidance also requires that students “maintain 6 feet of physical distancing when masks cannot be worn,” which includes when they’re stuffing their faces with sandwiches.

Local school districts are mostly handling this issue by using every space that’s available, including cafeterias, gyms, libraries, empty classrooms, conference rooms and outside spaces.

All of the local districts have invested in picnic tables that have been placed outside, and Central Point Superintendent Samantha Steele said her district has brought in some umbrella patio heaters so students can eat outside even on cold days.

Phoenix-Talent Superintendent Brent Barry said his district has taken it a step further.

“We’ve ordered a number of basically party tents for outside and paid for some chairs to be able to spread out,” he said. “At one elementary we have five eating stations now, whether it’s inside or outside to be able to spread students out.”

Send questions to “Since You Asked,” Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; or by email to youasked@rosebudmedia.com. We’re sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.