CDC changes school guidance, allowing desks to be closer

NEW YORK – Students can safely sit just 3 feet apart in the classroom as long as they wear masks but should be kept the usual 6 feet away from one another at sporting events, assemblies, lunch or chorus practice, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday in relaxing its COVID-19 guidelines.

The revised recommendations represent a turn away from the 6-foot standard that has sharply limited how many students some schools can accommodate. Some places have had to remove desks, stagger schedules and take other steps to keep children apart.

These big changes are likely to have little impact in Duval County Public Schools, according to the district and teachers News4Jax spoke to. But the district did say state testing will be affected.

The district did say it wants to make virtual students as comfortable as possible taking the upcoming state tests.

There will be 5-to-6 foot distancing and extended hours for those test-takers. But some teachers said the daily classroom setting isn’t likely to change that much.

And it’s the same on Duval County school buses.

“We don’t expect them to impact the bus industry at all. As you remember when this first started, [Superintendent] Dr. Greene had identified that they would be unable to socially distance the children on the buses. And that has been the case,” said Rebecca Cardona, Teamsters Local 512.

Some parents said they think the relaxed rules are coming too soon.