CDC to change school distancing guidelines from 6 feet apart to 3 feet apart

'The change could come as early as Friday'
Classroom distancing 3 feet vs 6 feet.png
Posted at 4:06 PM, Mar 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-18 19:15:45-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV)-- The CDC will recommend schools to enforce a three-foot social distance between students, instead of the previous six-foot guideline as soon as Friday, according to an administration official.

The change comes after a study in Massachusetts found no discernible difference in infection rates among masked students who sat three feet apart as opposed to six.

"The safest place to be is on the other side of the planet," UCSD Infectious disease expert Dr. Robert Schooley said.

Dr. Schooley said along with distancing, schools must consider air exchange and good masking.

"There is nothing in life that is zero-risk, and all of this is trying to balance the risks against the benefits, and certainly none of us want to have kids out of school forever," Dr. Schooley said.

San Diego Unified School Board President Richard Barrera said the district would not follow the CDC's new three-foot guideline come April 12, 2021.

"We do not want to try to cram as many students as we possibly can into a classroom," Barrera said.

The district already has an agreement with the teachers union to have six-foot distancing, with occasional allowance for five feet.

"In order for a couple of students to be in a class without having to break the class into different cohorts, if we were able to do that in a five-foot distance rather than a six-foot distance, then we will be able to do that," Barrera said.

Right now, the district is sending forms to parents asking if they wish to send their children back to in-person-learning this school year. If more students decide to come back than what can fit into a classroom, the class will have to split into different cohorts.

"Are we able to bring students back four days a week, or do we have to split them into cohorts?" Barrera said. "We would probably do like two days a week for one cohort and two days a week for the other."

The district said for the remainder of the school year, it will follow the six-foot rule. It may consider the CDC's three-foot guideline in the fall.