The latest news on the reopening of schools and what to expect for suggested guidelines, education and if it is safe to reopen.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have suggested new guidelines for students to adjust how far apart they can be from each other. This opens the door to whether or not schools are ready to reopen and if it is safe for students.
3 feet instead of 6 feet
The CDC is constantly updating its guidelines on classroom settings for when schools reopen. The guidelines for grades K-12 reflect the latest science on physical distancing between students in classrooms. As of March 25, the CDC recommends that students should maintain a distance of 3 feet apart, as opposed to the previously recommended 6 feet while wearing their masks.
These restrictions are in place for all elementary through high school classrooms. Six feet of distancing is strongly recommended in certain situations such as when adults gather in the school building and between the adults and students. The organization is hoping this will provide an evidence-based roadmap to help schools reopen safely and remain open for in-person learning.
This change will allow more children to learn with each other while being in the same room. Counties and school districts will still have the option for stricter protocols. With this roadmap in place for the future, more students will continue to return to in-person classes and reopened schools across the nation.
California community colleges are leaning towards offering in-person classes and activities in the fall of this year. The community college system runs by its own elected board of trustees and that is where they will decide what kind of instruction will be offered in the fall. Their decision will be shaped by what state and local officials have to say on each trustee’s decision.
Colleges are waiting on further information and answers from state health officials that will affect school reopening plans. Any type of reopening will still follow the guidelines of wearing masks, social distancing and having limited capacity within the classroom. There is likely to be increased hands-on instruction and sporting activities than there have been in the past year.
The main focus of state officials is reopening grades K-12 before the end of the current school year, giving only a fraction of their attention to higher education. Colleges have not finalized their fall plans and there isn’t a clear path towards reaching the point where students can fully return to campuses safely.
There are concerns and questions regarding the CDC’s decision to change their social distancing guidelines. President of the American Federation of Teachers, Randi Weingarten, argues that the science backing the CDC’s decision doesn’t take into account the challenges that school districts face. There are concerns that students will not be safe if they go back to school with new guidelines of 3 feet apart instead of 6 feet.
Weingarten expressed his concern via a letter addressed to CDC Director Rochelle Walensky and Education Secretary Miguel Cardona. In it, Weingarten stated, “Although I was very worried about the implications of the shift, I reserved judgment until we could review the new studies that were presented.”
With concerns about safely reopening schools still looming, Americans remain eager to return to the classroom, but only when safe. The CDC guidelines will continue to be updated as standards and recommendations changed. Continue to check back for updates as they occur.