Local reaction to new CDC guidelines for schools

New guidelines released by the CDC Friday could pave the way for more in-person learning.

Video Transcript

- New guidelines released by the CDC today could pave the way for more in-person learning, and for that to happen more quickly. The change from six feet to three feet of social distancing among kids could help more schools meet the guidelines needed to reopen classrooms safely.

Action News reporter Katie Katro live at Cornwell's Elementary in Bensalem and you've got the story from there tonight.

KATIE KATRO: And Brian, I'm live inside one of their classrooms. This is a fourth grade classroom and take a look around. All of these desks are spaced out three feet apart. , This is almost at full capacity. And this is coming just in time because if you want to you can start learning in person here in Bensalem for four days a week starting on Monday.

And Philadelphia schools are also getting ready for exactly this. Three feet apart spacing of desks as well.

DR. WILLIAM HITE: Ecstatic about that recommendation and it will allow us we think, to get more children back.

KATIE KATRO: The CDC is now recommending students can remain at least three feet apart in classrooms K through 12, where they are wearing masks and transmission is low. This is great news for parents like Amy Blumenthal, who has a kindergartener who wants to interact with other students but currently doesn't have that opportunity.

AMY BLUMENTHAL: And right now it's actually just my son and one other girl who are back. It's two kids. So I want it to feel normal for them.

KATIE KATRO: Philadelphia schools are currently in the process of allowing parents to sign up their children for in-person learning two days a week and spots are filling up as the superintendent anticipated.

DR. WILLIAM HITE: Schools have indicated that they have many parents who have said, I selected digital before but I want to change it in person.

KATIE KATRO: But that has some teachers concerned, like GINNY Field. While she's vaccinated, the four children she teaches in person, are not.

GINNY FIELD: I would like to work with this number of students for a little bit longer and see where it goes, maybe after the spring break.

KATIE KATRO: The Philadelphia Federation of Teachers Union president says he'll be reviewing the studies that led to the CDC'S change.

- We will follow the science.

KATIE KATRO: A second grade parent tells us she's been keeping her son home throughout the pandemic because she didn't feel comfortable with the six feet apart learning, let alone three.

- Sometimes I feel like the CDC is out of touch. Let's just stop this madness. Keep the kids home.

KATIE KATRO: And Maggie, here in Bensalem it's about a 70% number of students who are opting for in-person learning for elementary schools. So you will see the majority of these desks filled on Monday. And for students who still want to learn at home, well, that's why the teacher will be here and she will be teaching virtually and in person at the same time.

Many teachers that we spoke with say this job is harder, but they are doing it to keep everyone safe and in their own comfort level. Reporting live here in Bensalem, Katie Katro, Channel Six, Action News. Maggie.

Katie, thank you.