The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Friday that, with the use of face masks and proper ventilation, U.S. school students can safely “maintain a distance of at least three feet apart in classroom settings” during the coronavirus pandemic, a change from the agency’s previous recommendation of six feet. CNN reports the updated guidelines still recommend a six-foot distance between adults and students, and between teachers and other school staffers. The six-foot rule also applies in situations where masks are off, such as when eating or drinking, and in public settings, like grocery stores. Additionally, school buses should seat one student in every other row, opening windows to allow air circulation, the CDC added. The new guidelines would allow more schools to open and operate at a higher capacity. Previously, the federal six-foot guidelines made many schools opt to not teach in-person, or limited schools to teaching in a hybrid model, with decisions made on a local basis. “Indeed, because six feet has been such a challenge there, science has leaned in and there are now emerging studies on the question between three feet and six feet,” said CDC Director Rochelle Walensky.
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