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C.D.C. Examining Evidence for 3 Feet of Distancing in Schools

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C.D.C. Examining Evidence for 3 Feet of Distancing in Schools

Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, discussed the findings of a new study that suggests three feet, not six feet, was sufficient distance for students if they adhere to safety precautions.

The six feet data came from early studies, with and without masks, from all other — from respiratory viruses, flu viruses, as well as SARS and other coronaviruses, the MERS virus that Dr. Fauci. just spoke about. And how distance, how far aerosols and droplets can travel in that context. As soon as we put out our guidance, among the biggest challenges that we were aware of was the fact that schools were having a hard time with the six foot guidance. And that, of course, prompted more studies to say is six feet necessary in the context of mask wearing. The study that you’re remarking on is the first study that has been published that looked at three feet versus six feet. It was in Massachusetts schools where there was 100 percent mask wearing, and it demonstrated that students, when there was 100 percent mask wearing, had similar infection rates when at six versus three feet, as well as staff had similar infections rate of six feet versus six feet when they were masked. We are looking at these data carefully. The question actually prompted more studies to be done, so we know more forthcoming. We’re taking all of those data carefully and revisiting our guidances in that context.

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