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Santa Cruz County

CDC reviews study suggesting it is safe to reduce 6ft. rule to 3ft. in classrooms

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CENTRAL COAST, Calif. (KION) A new study suggests that reduced physical distancing policies could potentially be implemented in school settings.

Many schools on the Central Coast have been working on their re-opening plans to try to get as many students as possible back to school in person. The new Harvard study suggests that the 6-foot rule can be shortened to 3 feet. The CDC said it will be looking closely into the study.

The Santa Cruz Office of Education Superintendent Faris Sabbah said, the 6-foot rule has created limitations. At the moment, students can only attend in person twice a weak since only 15 students can fit in one classroom. 

"At three feet, we can probably get it up to nearly 30 students,” said Dr. Sabbah. Now that is a big difference. It will allow us to basically set up our classrooms the way they were set up before. Or, with the same numbers, we had before and allow for us to be able to have most of our if not all of our students in class."

“Some parents are many of them are happy that we're reopening our schools for in-person services. But, many of them wanting more time in person at school. They would like their child to be able to go to school full time”.

The Santa Cruz County of Educations is waiting for recommendations from experts such as the CDC and the California Department Of Health. 

The Monterey County Office of Education in an email to KION they wrote, "We are hopeful that the CDPH will continue to explore the research being done by CDC regarding a small distance between students and students, and students and staff and that they would modify guidelines if the CDC makes this recommendation."

The California Department of Health said in an email that experts have been closely monitoring the emerging science with the goal of updating state guidance to align with current evidence.

Read the full statement below from the CDPH below:

The science on physical distancing in classrooms is evolving. This week, the CDC has indicated that it is considering a reduction of its 6-feet standard. As the Governor noted on Monday, California’s public health experts have been closely monitoring the emerging science for weeks, with the goal of updating state guidance to align with current evidence.

Read the full statement below from the Monterey County Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Deneen Guss below:

"We understand the frustrations of parents and students as well as the frustrations of school leaders who are trying to plan for returns to campus for in-person learning under strict CDPH guidelines. The rules for adhering to a social distance of 6 feet as well as stable cohorts create quite the challenge for schools, especially middle and high schools. We are hopeful that the CDPH will continue to explore the research being done by CDC regarding a small distance between students and students, and students and staff and that they would modify guidelines if the CDC makes this recommendation. This would allow schools to be able to bring back more students and possibly have fewer hybrid models."

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Jonathan Sarabia

Jonathan is a multi-media journalist at KION News Channel 5/46.

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