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A new change in U.S. government guidelines that allows for less social distancing could make it easier for schools to reopen.
Under the new guidance from the CDC, masked students would be permitted to stay at least three feet apart from each other, instead of six feet.
The move could potentially help schools that have struggled to reopen under previous recommendations.
Many schools continue to teach students remotely more than a year after the coronavirus prompted widespread closures across the United States, leaving parents struggling with childcare.
President Joe Biden is seeking to reopen in-person learning for millions of public school students without sparking outbreaks.
His administration's goal is to vaccinate all teachers by the end of March.
The CDC said the new guidance was based on data from schools that suggests transmission of COVID-19 in schools is relatively low when precautions such as mask-wearing are employed, including in cases where students do not maintain six feet of distance.
The guidance applies to students from kindergarten through high school and in areas with low to substantial community transmission of COVID.
But in communities with high levels of COVID-19, Middle and high school students should stay six feet apart unless their schoolday contact can be limited to a single small group of students and staff.