CDC Announces New COVID Safety Guidelines For Schools

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says it's safe for students to maintain a distance of three feet instead of six feet in classrooms. The new guideline comes as we see a push to get kids back in schools fulltime; CBS2's Meg Baker reports.

Video Transcript

- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says it's safe for students to maintain a distance of three feet instead of six feet now in classrooms.

- The new guidelines come as we see a push to get kids back in schools full time. CBS2's Meg Baker has the story.

MEG BAKER: Some students have been out of the classroom for a full year now. Many, a hybrid of in-person and virtual learning. With updated guidance from the CDC, more students may fit into classrooms. Hope for a more normal spring.

ROCHELLE WALENSKY: CDC is also recommending that students be at least three feet apart in classrooms where everyone is wearing a mask, and the community level of risk is low, moderate, or substantial. Because COVID-19 is spread more likely among older students, CDC recommends that middle and high school students should be at least six feet apart in communities where COVID-19 risk is high.

MEG BAKER: April Mason's kids have yet to meet their teachers in person.

APRIL MASON: The amount of Zoom fatigue that both of them are feeling is real. I have no safety concerns with the three-foot rule.

MEG BAKER: Anna Ferguson's son with special needs is ready for consistency and routine.

ANNA FERGUSON: So important for them to feel safe, and for them to be able to concentrate.

MEG BAKER: So why the sudden change from six feet down to three feet?

PERRY HALKITIS: Data evolves and knowledge evolves.

MEG BAKER: Dr. Perry Halkitis with Rutgers says, children, for the most part, do not become ill or severely ill with COVID, allowing for closer range interaction. Teachers unions we spoke with say they are comfortable with the science, but cautioned other preventions need to stay in place.

CHRISTOPHER TAMBURRO: School districts will have to really look at changing numbers of cohorts, seeing how many students fit in rooms, bringing back furniture and things that they had taken out before.

ELOY DELGADO: Adults still need to stay six feet away. Making sure your ventilation is adequate, that your windows are operational. Making sure universal masking, vaccines, testing.

MEG BAKER: There is also a big push nationwide to get teachers vaccinated. Essex County started their program Friday in an effort to restore in-person instruction. In West Orange, New Jersey, Meg Baker, CBS2 News.