Students can now sit 3 feet apart in classrooms according to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The new COVID-19 recommendations represent greater flexibility to have more students in for a prolonged period.
Recently studies show evidence of improved mental health and other benefits from in-person schooling, Greta Massetti, who leads the CDC’s community interventions task force stated “we don’t really have the evidence that 6 feet are required in order to maintain low spread,” she said. Younger children are less likely to get seriously ill from the coronavirus and don’t seem to spread it as much as adults do.
The new guidance:
- Removes recommendations for plastic shields or other barriers between desks. “We don’t have a lot of evidence of their effectiveness” in preventing transmission, Massetti said.
- Advises at least 3 feet of space between desks in elementary schools, even in towns and cities where community spread is high, so long as students and teachers wear masks and take other precautions.
- Says spacing can also be 3 feet in middle and high schools, so long as there’s not a high level of spread in the community. If there is, spacing should be at least 6 feet.
The CDC said 6 feet of distance should still be maintained in common areas, such as school lobbies, and when masks can’t be worn, such as when eating. Also, students should continue to be spaced 6 feet apart in situations where there are a lot of people talking, cheering, or singing, all of which can spread droplets containing the coronavirus. That includes chorus practice, assemblies, and sports events.