The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Wednesday that school social distancing requirements could soon shrink.
CDC director Rochelle Walensky told lawmakers a recent report found that 3 feet of distance — along with the use of masks — was sufficient to keep schools safe.
“As soon as our guidance came out, it became very clear that 6 feet was among the things that was keeping schools closed and in that context science evolves,” Walensky told the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on oversight and investigations.
Walensky said the 6-foot separation rule was the primary hurdle for the wider reopening of classrooms across the nation.
Halving the distancing requirement would allow for far more students to be in their classrooms simultaneously and hasten a full return to in-person schooling.
“There has been one study that was published late last week that demonstrated in Massachusetts where there is generally 100% mask-wearing, that 3 feet was actually safe,” she said, adding that the CDC was “looking to update our guidance.”
But the push faces opposition from teachers’ unions who insist the COVID-19 pandemic remains a serious threat to students and staffers.
American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten has said that the move would be premature.
The city teachers’ union did not comment.
Roughly 70 percent of kids in the nation’s largest school system are still learning on a fully remote basis.