The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated the K–12 school instruction to reflect the latest science about physical distance among students in schools. The CDC now recommends that, with universal masking, students should stay at a distance of not less than 3 feet in classroom settings. The CDC has revised its operational strategy to say:
- In elementary schools, the CDC recommends that all students stay no less than 3 feet away from classrooms where the mask is used by everyone – regardless of whether they are short, medium, large, or tall. sending to the community.
- In middle and high school, the CDC also recommends students should be no less than 3 feet away from classrooms where mask use is practiced around the world and in communities where transmission is short, moderate, or extensive. .
- Middle school students and high school students should be no less than 6 feet away from communities where transmission is high, otherwise cohorting is not possible. join if groups of students are kept with the same ages and staff throughout the school day to minimize the risk of spreading throughout the school. This recommendation is because the dynamics of COVID-19 administration are different in older students-that is, they are more likely to be exposed to SARS-CoV-2 and spread it than in young children.
The updated Running Strategies for K-12 Schools through Phased Avoidance about the existing CDC source for K–12 schools will open and remain open for self-education during the COVID-19 pandemic. Since the release of the Operational Strategy on February 12, 2021, the CDC has continued to review evolving evidence of SARS-CoV-2 transmission in K–12 schools, as well as the latest science on the effectiveness of various methods of prevention in schools. The updated instruction completes what is already available at the CDC guidance, resources, and tools for K–12 schools.
Three studies, published today Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), also responded to the prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 in schools. Taken together, these studies are based on the evidence that physical distance of at least 3 feet among students can be safely incorporated in classroom settings where the use of universal masks and other prevention measures are practiced.
“The CDC is committed to leading the science and updating our guidance as new evidence comes out,” said CDC Director Rochelle P. Walensky. Safe human education gives our children access to critical social and mental health services that prepare them for the future, in addition to the education they need to succeed. The updated recommendations are to provide an early evidence-based roadmap to help schools also open safely, and remain open, for self-teaching. ”
These revised recommendations are specific to students in classrooms with universal mask wear.
The CDC continues to recommend at least 6 feet away:
- Between adults in the school building and between adults and students.
- In common areas, such as school lobbies and auditoriums.
- If the mask cannot be worn, such as food.
- During activities when additional breathing occurs, such as singing, shouting, band practice, sports, or exercise. These activities should be moved outdoors or in large, well-ventilated spaces whenever possible.
- In community settings outside the classroom.
Given the important services offered by schools and the benefits of self-learning, it is important for K–12 schools to open and remain open for self -education, as safe and as quickly as possible. Schools should be the last settings to close because of COVID-19 and the first to open as well if they can do so safely. Working together, school leaders and community members can take steps to keep schools open for self-learning by protecting students, teachers, and staff at the school where they live. , working, learning, and playing.
Vaccines an important tool to help stop the COVID-19 pandemic. Earlier this month, as part of ongoing efforts to also open K–12 schools, President Biden commanded all states ahead of K–12 teachers, school staff, and child care workers for the COVID-19 vaccination,pdf iconexternal icon and he challenged states to give these coaches their first shots by the end of March. The CDC plays a leading role in helping achieve the President’s goal through the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program, with more than 9,000 participating pharmacies nationwide topped by K-12 educators, staff at schools, and child care workers for teaching immunization throughout the month of March. More information is available at CDC website.