NY updates classroom guidelines allowing students to sit 3 feet apart

On Friday, New York state quietly eased school distancing restrictions following recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guideline changes to allow students to sit three feet apart instead of six feet apart in classrooms.
Some students and parents applauded the decision, which will allow for an easier transition to in-person learning. But District Superintendent for Nassau BOCES Bob Dillon questions the timing of the new guidelines. He says reconfiguring classrooms now eight weeks before the school year ends is frustrating.
“Our kids and staff have been put through the ringer this whole year…thanks for nothing,” he said.
The distancing change would now allow schools to bring more students back to buildings and reduce distance learning. Students will still be required to wear masks and be separated by plexiglass.
Teachers say distancing should be one part of the layered strategy.
New York State United Teachers say more must be done to strengthen safety protocols, like more routine testing in classrooms. They say other critical components to maintaining a safe environment at schools will be contact tracing, cleaning buildings and having good air flow and ventilation.
Health officials believe changes to the guidelines will not have a negative impact.
“If the children continue to wear masks and are at that three feet distance, we expect that we will continue to have decrease transmission in the classroom,” says Dr. Sharon Nachman, of Stony Brook Hospital.
The new rule now applies to students in middle and high schools as long as community transmission is low.