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CDC has officially changed the social distancing guidelines for schools

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has made a switch for social distancing in schools

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Skyline High School custodian Stephanie Harrill sets up desks in a freshly cleaned classroom athe school in Millcreek in July 2020.

Stephanie Harrill, Skyline High School custodian, sets up desks in a cleaned classroom to get ready for the start of school at Skyline High School in Millcreek on Thursday, July 23, 2020.

Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Friday it would relax social distancing guidelines in schools from 6 feet to 3 feet, according to multiple reports.

  • However, the recommendation comes with a few additional rules. Students will need to wear masks, and teachers and staff need to keep 6 feet of distance between each other, NBC News reports.


The CDC said earlier this week it would start reviewing a new study that suggested 3 feet of distance in schools might be as safe as 6 feet in schools. The study said the 3 feet rule worked well when all the children in the schools wore masks, as I wrote for the Deseret News.

Dr. Anthony Fauci recently said on the “Today” show he thought the change would likely happen.

Why now?

CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said this is an urgent matter for schools, according to CNN.

  • “Indeed, because 6 feet has been such a challenge there, science has leaned in and there are now emerging studies on the question between 3 feet and 6 feet,” Walensky said, according to CNN.

Dr. Robert Murphy, a professor of infectious diseases at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, told NBC News the 3-feet guideline “is the biggest bang for your buck” when it comes to stopping the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Why it matters

The announcement comes as schools look for the best ways to reopen amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to NBC News.

Per Axios: “This could be another incentive for closed schools to feel logistically ready to reopen, especially those with limited space or large class sizes.”