The CDC has changed its social distancing guidelines for children at schools. Students can now sit 3 feet apart, instead of the previously recommended 6 feet. All students and staff are still required to wear masks and wear them properly.
These changes come after a study, published last week in the journal Clinical Infectious Disease, proved that schools keeping students at 6 feet social distancing had no different transmission rates than schools that kept the distancing down to 3 feet.
Experts believe these guidelines will allow more students to return to school.
Data collected from school reopening have brought to light that schools in Massachusetts, Indiana, and Virginia, have all established 3 feet as the new standard minimum distance. Commenting on these schools’ policies, education and policy expert John Bailey said,
“(Massachusetts, Indiana, and Virginia)have not seen a surge of cases that you would expect if somehow that protection was less adequate.”
Schools now have to make sure that the other precautions are precisely followed. Discussing these measures,CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said,
“These include the universal and correct use of masks, physical distancing, hand washing, and respiratory etiquette. Cleaning to maintain healthy facilities and diagnostic testing with rapid and efficient contact tracing, in combination with isolation in quarantine and in collaboration with local health departments.”
At the same time, the CDC also continues to encourage maintaining the 6 feet distance between adults at school, and between adults and students. The agency also recommends sticking to the 6 feet rule when in settings outside of the classrooms, such as while hanging out in common rooms, or when eating, or during band practice.
Leading infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, shared his views on these developments, saying,
“What the CDC wants to do is they want to accumulate data and when the data shows that there is an ability to be 3 feet they will act accordingly. I can assure you within a reasonable amount of time, quite reasonable, they will be giving guidelines according to the data they have.”
The American Academy of Pediatrics and the World Health Organization, are both in agreement with these new guidelines. In fact, WHO also recommends at-school physical distancing of around 3 feet or a minimum of 1 meter.
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