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New CDC Guidance Says 3 Feet Of Physical Distancing Instead Of 6 Feet Safe In Schools

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Natasha Brown reports.

Video Transcript

- There is other major COVID news today to tell you about. Students can now safely sit just three feet apart in the classroom as long as they are wearing masks. That's according to new guidelines issued by the CDC. Natasha Brown has more on how the Philadelphia school district is incorporating these new guidelines as it brings students back to school buildings.

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NATASHA BROWN: As schools begin to return to hybrid learning, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is updating its guidance on social distancing. On Friday, the CDC released three new studies it says supports bringing children in schools closer together, going from six feet to three feet for physical distancing. Philadelphia Public Schools are continuing to open more schools to hybrid learning for pre-kindergarten through second grade students. City Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley says he supports the science and believes children would still be safe.

THOMAS FARLEY: I have a very high opinion of the CDC and whatever guidance they're saying we will go with.

NATASHA BROWN: The Philadelphia School District will reopen 35 more schools on Monday, leading the way to more than 100 schools with about 9,000 students to continue in-person learning two days a week. The goal is to continue to allow more elementary school grades to return before the end of the school year. The School District of Philadelphia issued this statement after hearing of the CDC's updated guidance on social distancing, saying, in part, quote, "we are pleased to see the updated guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention regarding three feet of distance between students in elementary schools. As we have stated from the very beginning of this pandemic, the School District of Philadelphia will always implement practices that are in line with guidelines and recommendations from the CDC."

JERRY JORDAN: If there is going to be a change, we will meet with the administration to discuss those changes.

NATASHA BROWN: The Philadelphia Federation of Teachers has worked closely with the School District of Philadelphia to ensure buildings have layers of safety protocols in place to protect students and staff. They say this new guidance needs to be carefully weighed to continue save school settings.

JERRY JORDAN: We have always followed the science. And so that as the scientists are learning more about COVID-19, there are times when you have to make adjustments based on new information that you get.

NATASHA BROWN: The CDC is continuing its guidance on mask wearing at all times in schools, frequent hand washing, hand sanitizing stations, as well, and six feet distance in common areas. Natasha Brown, CBS3 Eyewitness News.