ALLEGHANY COUNTY, Va. – A major change in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines means big things for children going back to class.
The guidelines previously required kids to stay 6 feet apart while in the classroom; however, that recommended distance is now just 3 feet.
It’s a sign of good news for some school districts as many are expanding their in-person learning and welcomed more kids back to class Monday.
With about 190 students at Callahan Elementary School in Alleghany County, the school district said CDC’s new changes give the district more flexibility in the classrooms.
Trying to redesign classrooms to accommodate the 6f eet distance rule is a struggle for many school districts.
“Now the CDC is helping us out a little bit,” explained Alleghany School Board Chairman Jacob Wright.
Just days ago, the CDC eased up its rule about social distancing.
Students can now be three feet apart but must wear a mask.
“So, now children, as long as they continue to wear masks, will be in school at 3 feet,” said Chief Presidential Medical Advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci. “That doesn’t mean from the teachers, because they still have to be 6 feet from the teachers, and the teachers still need to be 6 feet from each other. But the children, 3 feet from each other, is going to be okay from now on.”
Wright said the new guidance allows them to be more flexible with limited spacing in schools.
“We only have one fifth grade class at this school and they’ve done their best separating kids as possible because it is a larger class and we only have one classroom for them,” he said.
The CDC also said barriers can now come down too.
However, at Callahan Elementary School, plexiglass dividers are still used in two kindergarten classes, with more than 20 students, to provide extra protection.
The school district is still noticing a severe student attendance problem and Wright said he hopes the new CDC rules would help parents feel more comfortable bringing their children to class.