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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued updated guidelines Friday that recommend reducing school social distancing from 6 feet to 3 feet.
The move would theoretically allow for more students to be present in classrooms and enable a fuller reopening of schools.
“These updated recommendations provide the evidence-based roadmap to help schools reopen safely, and remain open, for in-person instruction,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said in a statement.
Principals across the nation have been forced to drastically reduce the number of children in classrooms — a hurdle that has slowed reopening efforts.
It is unclear if the city Department of Education will implement the guidance this year or if it will have any material effect on classroom time in the near term.
Speaking on WNYC Thursday, United Federation of Teachers’ chief Michael Mulgrew said he was not prepared to embrace the distancing change just yet.
“We’re waiting for these experts to tell us,” he said, referring of a group of doctors the UFT relies on for medical advice. “And we’ll follow their guidelines.”
The head of the national teachers’ union, Randi Weingarten, has flatly opposed reducing the required space between students in public schools.
Hampered by staffing shortages due to teacher COVID-19 medical accommodations and distancing requirements, many schools across the city can only host kids in their buildings for a handful of days each month.
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