The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday revised its guidelines for schools. Saying that a distance of three feet between students is sufficient for all elementary, middle, and high schools is a change that forms the basis for the full-time reopening of individual classes in many districts.
The announcement came as the CDC released a new study that found that limited coronavirus transmission in schools required masks, but not always the six-foot distance that was common. This was true even in areas where the virus was prevalent in the community.
Teachers’ unions opposed the change; local unions could resist large-scale efforts to repatriate large numbers of students. Many large districts have recently begun to reopen to partial, private schools, often after intense negotiations with teachers.
However, the new guidelines are in stark contrast to last month’s CDC guideline, which keeps schools six feet apart. To achieve this, the CDC said that most schools in the country should strive to be completely reopened.
This contradicted the CDC with President Biden urging schools to reopen completely.
The February proposal was also very cautious under criticism from many experts, as they were extremely cautious, especially as more evidence emerged that schools were safe to work with people closer to each other. However, under leadership, many districts have adopted hybrid systems, where students spend part of their time in school buildings and learn the rest at home.
CDC Director Rochelle Valensky said on Friday that new evidence had prompted the change.
“The CDC is committed to science – to update our guidelines when new evidence emerges,” he said in a statement. “These updated proposals demonstrate an evidence-based roadmap to help schools reopen safely and stay open to in-person instruction.”
Until recently, the debate over distance in schools was complicated by a lack of research that directly compared the risks of distance between people. Most researchers say that the study of the six-foot parameter is outdated, but they also agree that a longer distance is better.
A growing number of scholars are calling for smaller spaces to be created in schools, saying the risk should be weighed against the rise of safe examples of reopening եկան increasing evidence of mental health ների academic harm, which is more than a year of distance learning.
“Look, 100 feet is safer than six feet, which is safer than three feet,” former CDC director Tom Frieden told the Washington Post Live this week. “Is three feet normal for most schools?” Absolutely, if they hide, if they quickly reveal the cases, they isolate and quarantine. ”
That case was reinforced last week by a study published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases, which found similar prevalence rates in Massachusetts school districts that used at least three feet by six users.
Friday’s change comes after some state and local officials independently rejected the six-foot offer. This week, for example, public schools in Laudou County, Virginia, said it would open four days a week in April, making the change possible by reducing the required distance from six to three feet.
Others said the new rules would speed up the return to a more normal school.
“Like everyone else, we are waiting for the CDC to change its social distance guidelines so that we can walk on three legs,” said Roberto Padilla, a city school inspector in New York, New York. He said he hopes to switch from a full-time hybrid system this spring.
New York City schools welcomed the news, saying on Twitter that it would allow the district to “bring more students to buildings.” The district said it would offer new optimization opportunities for families next week.
In Philadelphia, Inspector William Height also hopes the suggestions will help strengthen personalized learning, but the district still has a long way to go. Currently, the agreement with the teachers’ union only allows children from pre-school to second-grade children in buildings, only part-time. “We will quickly focus on analyzing the distances between classrooms and schools to open those rooms and schools to more children,” Heath said on Friday.
But the country’s two largest teachers’ unions are opposed to the change, and it is unclear whether teachers will continue. Ahead of the announcement, the unions claimed that there was little research on the impact of closer contact in urban schools, where buildings are older and classrooms are more crowded.
“We are concerned that the CDC has changed one of the basic rules of how to ensure the safety of schools without showing that science is justified by that change,” said Becky Pringle, president of the National Education Association.
The CDC said on Friday that most of the school infections were among “staff” of adults or students. It therefore recommends a six-foot distance between learners և their teachers as well as teachers և staff և. But the agency says the rules could be relaxed for student-student relationships.
It says three feet away from elementary school is enough for elementary schools, no matter what the level of infection in the surrounding community. Young children are much less likely to have severe cases of covidium-19, and some studies suggest that they spread the coronavirus less effectively than adolescents and adolescents.
Suggestions are more complex for high schools, depending on which of the four community transfer levels is available nearby. At the three lowest levels, the CDC says three feet is enough for all schools. But at the highest level the agency recommends six feet. That is, schools will probably have to rotate students in a hybrid system. As of Sunday, data from the CDC showed that 40 percent of U.S. counties were at the highest level, defined as an average of seven or more cases per 100,000 people per day.
The agency says that even then, high schools can lower the standard by three feet, but only if they are able to keep students in groups, which limits interactions with small groups. This is difficult to do in high school, where students are usually divided into different groups depending on the course.
This nuance is helpful, said Joseph Ozef Allen, an associate professor at The Chan Chan School of Public Health at Harvard. He said the guidelines and studies published now make it clear that school-based infections can be avoided by taking appropriate measures.
“Even with high community coverage, you can control the transfer inside the building,” he said.
The guideline also made a number of other changes that Allen praised, including a greater emphasis on ventilation, plexiglass, and the removal of the proposal to use other physical barriers, the use of which, he said, has not been proven.
On Friday, the CDC released three new studies that appear to increase evidence that schools can operate safely, even if the community is widespread as long as disguise and other means are used.
One, conducted in Salt Lake City, Utah, examined the transfer to 20 elementary schools over a six-week period from December to January. The use of masks was high among more than 10,000 students և 1,200 employees և students were grouped into class groups. The study found that the distance between the children was three feet.
Fifty-one index or primary coronavirus cases have been identified. Նախորդ In contrast to previous studies of school transmissions, researchers tested all 735 people who decided to have close school contacts with the initial 51. This is an important step in finding asymptomatic cases that can still transmit the virus. The researchers found only five cases of school transfers, which they believe “reinforces the facts of low elementary transfers.”
The results, the authors conclude, suggest that even when students are less than six feet away, “high-frequency community schools can still restrict intra-university transfers through the use of masks, further use, and other mitigation strategies.”
The second study looked at school transfers during the two weeks of December in Springfield County, St. Louis. 55 in K-12 schools. Almost all schools have implemented many mitigation measures. Masking, ventilation modernization և hand washing stations. But the distance between the students was different. Many schools used at least three feet. Although the prevalence of the community was great in that period. More than 700 cases per 100,000 people per day, researchers found no school outbreaks, only two cases of school outbreaks.
The third CDC study focused on four months of coronavirus cases among school-age children in Florida, which reopened most schools in August, even though most other states kept them closed. It found that the cases of young people were correlated with community interest rates, and that the reopening of schools did not seem to contribute to the prevalence of some group settlements or high-density workplaces.
The paper does not address the distance between students, but it turns out that the level of cases is higher in districts where masks are not required.