Friday, March 19, 2021

CDC cuts school distancing requirements to 3 feet - POLITICO

CDC cuts school distancing requirements to 3 feet - POLITICO
CDC cuts school distancing requirements to 3 feet
The new guidance says three feet of separation is safe — if everyone is wearing a mask.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that students attending in-person instruction only need to stay 3 feet apart, rather than 6, as long as universal masking is maintained.

The agency’s new guidance, released Friday, recommends 3 feet of separation at elementary, middle and high schools in communities with low, moderate or substantial transmission. But the agency says middle school and high school students should stay 6 feet apart in communities where test positivity rates are 10 percent or higher and cohorting — when groups of students are kept together with the same staff throughout the day — is not available.

Six feet of distance is still in all schools recommended for staff, between staff and students, in common areas, when students are eating and during activities that require increased exertion such as gym class, choir or band practice.

The change comes more than a month after the Biden administration announced its school reopening guidelines Feb. 12. The CDC’s advice then recommended schools “establish policies and implement structural interventions to promote physical distance of at least six feet” and that “cohorting or podding” could help minimize exposure.

The agency soon after came under intense scrutiny by public health officials and scientists across the country who argued it was safe for schools to maintain 3 feet of physical distance to keep children safe. The dialogue was part of a larger conversation about how the agency’s guidelines included too many restrictions and would limit schools’ ability to reopen.

In a testimony this week before the House Energy and Commerce Oversight CONTINUE READING: CDC cuts school distancing requirements to 3 feet - POLITICO