Good news! Schools can now space students 3 feet apart instead of 6 feet, according to the CDC.
As expected, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday amended its guidance for schools, reducing social distancing requirements for students and teachers.
The agency updated it to say that it, “now recommends that, with universal masking, students should maintain a distance of at least 3 feet in classroom settings.”
A new @CDCMMWR finds low transmission of #COVID19 in Utah elementary schools when students & staff wore masks and followed other prevention measures, even when students were spaced a median of 3 feet apart and in communities with high levels of spread: https://t.co/CLKE5223A1. pic.twitter.com/HwHRjQhwVi
— CDC (@CDCgov) March 19, 2021
However, the 6-foot rule still applies in common areas, when masks are off while eating, between adults and students and in public settings. This revision would give more schools the ability to open in person.
New research, including a study published in ‘Clinical Infectious Diseases,’ was examined to justify the change. Westyn Branch-Elliman, a co-author of the study and an infectious diseases specialist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, said via NPR, “We didn’t see any substantial difference in cases among students or staff in districts with 3 feet versus 6 feet, suggesting that we can open the schools safely at 3 feet provided that some of the mitigation measures that were present here in Massachusetts are in place.”
Some schools have already implemented distancing precautions of 3 feet.