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New CDC guidance for physical distancing in K-12 classrooms, reduces the recommended physical distancing from 6 feet to 3 feet

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the staff of the Ridgewood blog
Ridgewood NJ, the US CDC published updated guidance for physical distancing in K-12 classrooms, which reduces the recommended physical distancing in some settings from 6 feet to 3 feet. Earlier this week, Chief Medical Advisor to the President Dr. Anthony Fauci and CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky indicated that the CDC was considering the change, based on evolving evidence about transmission risk in school settings and notable challenges facing schools in terms of maintaining 6-foot separation for students and staff. The changes were based in part on the findings from several studies published in today’s MMWR, which provide further evidence regarding SARS-CoV-2 transmission dynamics in school settings. In addition to physical distancing, the new guidance includes updates regarding improved ventilation, physical barriers, and other aspects of COVID-19 mitigation in schools.

The updated guidance indicates that elementary schools can reduce physical distancing to 3 feet as long as mask use is universal, regardless of the level of community transmission. For middle and high schools, in classrooms where mask use is universal, the CDC recommends 3-foot separation in schools where community transmission is low, moderate, or substantial. For middle and high schools in areas where community transmission is high, the CDC recommends 6-foot separation if cohorting—ie, keeping the same groups of students together throughout the day to reduce mixing with other groups—is not possible. Schools in high-transmission areas that are able to implement cohorting strategies can operate using 3-foot distancing.
The CDC continues to recommend 6-foot physical distancing between adults, in common areas (eg, lobbies, auditoriums), when masks cannot be worn (eg, when eating), and during activities that involve “increased exhalation” (eg, singing, band practice/performance, sports practice/competition). Reducing the recommended physical distancing separation to 3 feet aims to make it easier for schools to resume in-person classes while continuing to mitigate transmission risk.

One thought on “New CDC guidance for physical distancing in K-12 classrooms, reduces the recommended physical distancing from 6 feet to 3 feet

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