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Here's why experts say 3-feet of social distancing could work in classrooms

Last school year, the guidance for students was 6-feet of distance. What led the CDC to change its recommendation?

WASHINGTON — How far is the right distance for children in schools? When DMV students got back into classrooms last school year, most districts had students sitting 6-feet apart.

This year, mostly all schools have students returning and maintaining half that distance: 3-feet.

Question:

Is 3-feet far enough to keep COVID-19 from spreading?

Our Sources: 

Answer: 

Yes, 3-feet is long enough, as long as students wear masks.

What We Found:

“As the pandemic has continued, we've learned a lot about what precautions we need to keep each other safe,” Dr. D’Souza said.

According to our research and sources, 3-feet is enough distance, but only with other safety measures, like masks.

“When everyone is masked, 3-feet apart is sufficient distance to reduce transmission,” Dr. D’Souza explained.

The question then becomes, how do experts know that 3-feet is enough distance?

“There were schools that opened up with 3-feet distancing [in 2020] and we were able to collect data on how they did,” Dr. D’Souza said. “We now have data from our experience and learning last year to support that.”

However, both the CDC and Dr. D’Souza said without masks they advise students to be kept 6-feet apart.

That is how we can Verify, despite last year’s guidance, our experts said students are fine this year with 3-feet and a mask.

“We do want our recommendations to change with the science and our understanding of what works and doesn’t work is also changing,” Dr. D’Souza said.

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