SAN RAFAEL (CBS SF) — Marin County’s Office of Education and its Health Department has jointly recommended a gradual reopening for local schools with new protocols to prevent the spread of COVID-19 including daily screening of students and teachers.

In the guidelines released Wednesday, county officials will allow teachers to meet with students individually or in small cohorts, but in-person instruction is barred before September 8.

Related: Read The Guidelines For Yourself

The approach accounts for rising COVID-19 case numbers in Marin and across the region, including among young people, but also aims to prepare students and staff eventually to be in schools full time, the two departments said in a joint statement.

“Our goal is to support the health and wellbeing of students and staff during this process,” Marin County Superintendent of Schools Mary Jane Burke said in the statement. “We recognize the concerns and anxiety surrounding the return to the classroom and believe that a transitionalapproach will allow staff and students to feel more comfortable in this new environment.”

Related: Zoom schedule for online discussion of school openings on Thursday and on July 23rd

Marin County special education and alternative education classes reopened on May 18 under the guidance of Public Health.

County Health Director Dr. Matt Willis said the current surge in cases just makes it impossible to plan for an immediate return to in-class instruction.

“We still have hope that we can bring students back into schools full time, but with the current spikes we’re seeing in Marin County and across the region, we need more time,” Willis told the Marin Independent Journal. “We’ve been watching the data closely. If we open when community transmission is high, we may have to close classrooms more frequently, which could be even more disruptive.”

Hours before the county-wide announcement, San Rafael City Schools officials announced they would start the year with remote learning.

“After careful and thoughtful consultation with our labor partners, our task force committees, our parents, students, administrators, partner organizations and members of the board of education, we have made the difficult decision that San Rafael City Schools will begin the 2020-21 school year in a full remote learning model for all students,” Superintendent Jim Hogeboom said.

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