The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention today released updated guidance saying only three feet of distance is required between students as long as everyone is wearing a mask.
While we understand that the availability of vaccines and new information have prompted policies and guidance to continually evolve, we want to consult with our trusted independent medical experts and have asked them to evaluate this new recommendation.
Once the CDC puts out recommended guidance, it’s then up to each state to decide whether or not to adopt it as policy. New York City does not have the authority to change its policy for public schools on its own. We will be working with New York State health and education officials as they decide how to proceed.
Under the updated CDC guidance, school staff must still maintain six feet of distance from other adults and from students. The guidance also says students must maintain six feet of distance in any public area, such as gyms, hallways and lunchrooms. The agency recommends keeping students and teachers in distinct cohorts throughout the day. In middle schools and high schools where community transmission is higher, the CDC advises students to stay six feet apart if cohorting is not possible.
As a public school educator, you know that it would be extremely complicated to implement such a plan in New York City public schools. The DOE would have a lot to figure out.
Our members’ safety remains our top priority, and we will continue to be guided by our medical experts as we navigate the road ahead. By letting the science guide us, we have kept our school communities safe.
We will continue to advocate for you and keep you informed of policy decisions that affect you.
Be well and be safe.