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CDC shortens social distancing tips for colleges to three ft with masks

Giani Clarke, 18, a senior at Wilson High School, is taking a test in her AP Statistics class. The desks are being doubled to create more social distance.

Ben Hasty | MediaNews Group | Getty Images

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday revised their guidelines on social distancing in schools, stating that most students can now sit three feet apart instead of six feet while wearing masks.

The recommendation is for all K-12 students regardless of whether community transmission is low, moderate, or significant, the CDC said.

In communities with high transmission rates, the CDC recommends that middle and high school students stay at least three feet apart if schools cannot keep students and teachers in assigned groups, the agency said. In elementary schools, where younger children have been shown to have a lower risk of transmitting the virus than teenagers, children wearing masks can stay within three feet of them, according to the CDC.

The CDC said it continues to recommend a separation of at least two meters between adults in schools, as well as between adults and students. It is also recommended that you maintain a social distance of two meters in public areas, while dining, during indoor activities such as tape exercises and sports, and in environments outside of the classroom.

“CDC is committed to being at the forefront of science and to update our guidelines as new information becomes available,” said CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky in a statement. “Through safe, face-to-face tuition, our children gain access to vital social and mental health services that prepare them for the future, in addition to the education they need to be successful.”

The updated guidelines of the federal health authorities follow a Study published last week Clinical Infectious Diseases magazine suggested that public schools could be safely reopened as long as children were three feet apart and other mitigation measures, such as wearing masks, were enforced.

Some schools had complained that adhering to the six-foot rule was impractical. The World health organization and the American Academy of Pediatrics both have a social distance of three feet. The Chief Medical Officer of the White House, Dr. Anthony Fauci said Thursday that curtailed social guidelines were “likely” to happen.

–CNBC’s Will Feuer contributed to this report.

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