RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Social distancing in schools could soon get a little easier, as the Center for Disease Control and Prevention revised its guidelines, saying that it’s okay for students to be 3 feet apart in the classroom, rather than 6 feet.
The CDC says this is a way to get more kids back into schools. But the new guidance only applies to the students; teachers and school staff still have to keep 6 feet away. Additionally, everyone must still wear their masks inside.
“As soon as our guidance came out, it became very clear that six-feet was among the things that was keeping schools closed,” said Dr. Rochelle Walensky, CDC Director.
The changes come after a study was published last week, comparing COVID-19 cases among students and staff in Massachusetts public schools.
It showed transmission rates in districts that required physical distancing of 6 feet were similar to those that allowed 3 feet, such as those in Miami-Dade.
Miami-Dade Public Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho said publicly that after speaking with school staff, “they feel safe as long as the mediation strategies and the protocols continue to be faced.”
But before schools start cramming more desks in, the CDC does recommend for areas with a high rate of spread to maintain 6 feet for middle and high schoolers.
The same goes for situations where masks can’t always be worn, such as lunchtime and extracurricular activities like band practice.
Back at home, a statement from Hanover County Schools says the new guidance “recognizes and validates the approach that we have taken since developing our plan last summer.” Their plan already calls for a minimum of 3 feet when 6 feet isn’t possible.
Chesterfield and Henrico County Public schools say they are reviewing the guidelines.
The Virginia Department of Health said that they are awaiting the officially published guidelines, and will make any necessary changes as appropriate.
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