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
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
The new rule now applies to students in middle and high
schools as long as community transmission is low.