State and federal guidelines are similar in many respects, but California is stricter on when Covid rates permit schools to reopen.
State and federal health officials say prioritizing teachers and school staff will allow schools to reopen sooner for in-person instruction.
Special education, homeless and foster students are priority groups that can return in separate cohorts with up to 14 children and two adults.
Conflicting direction from the state added to confusion over whether schools could continue in-person instruction in Mendocino County.
Backlog of records is expected to be added to county data within 72 hours, which will allow the state to unfreeze its county monitoring list.
After the data issues are resolved, counties will be able to make decisions about elementary school waivers, state official says.
School districts, charter and private schools would have to meet safety requirements. Counties could limit the number of approvals.