The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has updated its social distancing policy in schools based on community transmission rates and masking use. The new recommendations are based on a trio of studies published in the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report providing more data about the spread of SARS-CoV-2 in schools. The recommendations are as follows:
- For elementary schools, regardless of the community transmission, three feet of separation is recommended if there is a universal mask policy in place.
- For middle and high schools where community transmission is not high, three feet of separation is similarly recommended.
- In areas where community transmission is high, schools should attempt to cohort students and teachers to reduce contact between groups, and if not possible, middle and high school students should still maintain six feet of separation.
It is important to note that these updates only apply to students in classrooms with enforced universal masking policies. The CDC still recommends that adults maintain six feet of separation at all times, and that students similarly maintain six feet in common areas, when eating, during increased exertion, and in the community at large. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention