FLORIDA, USA — The Center for Disease Control and Prevention announced Friday that masked students can be seated as close as three feet apart with no increased risk to them or teachers, but the usual six feet of distance remains the guideline for activities such as lunch, assemblies and sporting events.
“I'm glad that we have this will make it easier for kids to go to school," Dr. Mobeen Rathore, UF Health Jacksonville Chief of Pediatric Infectious Diseases and Immunology, said. "As more information becomes available, we make more changes. This is what science is telling us. So, it's the right guidance.”
However, one Duval County teacher said the updated CDC recommendation it won’t really change anything for his classroom.
“There's no social distancing going on anyway. We've been within six feet of each other all year long," veteran teacher Chris Guerrieri explained.
Florida Education Association President Andrew Spar agreeing with Guerrieri in the following statement to First Coast News:
“The reduced social distancing requirement really has no impact on florida. Our schools have not been socially distancing. They could not. The Florida Education Association still supports masks, social distancing, hand washing and improved air quality to protect students, teachers and staff in our public schools."
However, Duval County Public Schools said the updated CDC recommendation will make a difference.
The district does not plan to change any of its safety protocols this school year, but said the new guidelines will help keep state testing days very close to normal for students, allowing schools to test a whole classroom at one time.
District leadership will also look into the possibility of limited end of the year field trips.
Ultimately though, Guerrieri thinks changing the guidelines is not a smart move.
“It’s very frustrating," he explained. "I really feel like we have a light at the end of the tunnel with vaccinations, and it just doesn't make much sense to me to take our foot off the brakes.”
He would rather not have school districts dismiss the extra three feet.