CDC Changes School Guidance, Says Students Can Sit Closer At Desks

A look at how the CDC's new school guidelines affect the classroom and virtual learning.

Video Transcript

- The CDC has relaxed social distancing guidelines for schools, saying students can now sit three feet apart in classrooms instead of six. And as our Nicole Nielsen reports, it's understood this may mean the end of hybrid learning. She has the details for us, all new at 5:00.

NICOLE NIELSEN: In classrooms around North Texas, desks have been removed to make sure students could social distance. Many schools opted for hybrid learning to reduce class sizes, but now the CDC says they have evidence that shows three feet of social distancing, and not six, is just as effective in the classroom, making that their new recommendation. It's possible that some schools could bring those desks back along with kids to fill them.

RENA HONEA: I do see that some would try to get more and more in, especially since the state testing is still required. They want it to be done in person, in the buildings.

NICOLE NIELSEN: Rena Honea with Alliance AFT says there's pros to getting kids back in the classroom, but there's also cons as we come off spring break.

RENA HONEA: You don't know where they've been. You don't know who they've been around. Just from past history, we've seen spikes in cases come after being out of the school setting.

NICOLE NIELSEN: The recommendation is that as long as schools require masks, three feet of space between students is enough. But if you're in a community with high transmission, they say middle and high schoolers should stay six feet apart if cohorting is not possible. They continue to recommend six feet between adults and students, as well as for those in common areas. Honea says she still feels the decision was made too soon.

RENA HONEA: I think the guidelines should have waited. We're fairly close to the end of school. Let's be safe.

NICOLE NIELSEN: We couldn't get a lot of feedback today from districts, since many are on spring break. But we did confirm with Fort Worth IDS, who said they're going to be talking with their leadership team about bringing in more desks, but that it's out of the question for Monday.

In Fort Worth, Nicole Nielsen, CBS 11 News.