RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Updated guidance from North Carolina state health officials now allows middle and high school students to return to daily, in-person instruction without having to be separated by 6 feet (1.8 meters) while seated inside a classroom.

The change comes in response to federal guidance that recommends all K-12 students be kept at least 3 feet (0.9 meters) apart.

School can still operate under a different plan that requires the six feet of separation.

Meanwhile, state lawmakers advanced a pair of bills that would include charter schools in the K-12 reopening plan and allow the state’s public college and university system to make pay cuts.

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