Can schools move kids closer together?

The idea of moving kids closer is to allow more students in the classroom every day.
Can schools moves kids closer together?
Published: Mar. 16, 2021 at 5:18 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - A new study suggests that students only have to sit about three feet apart from each other to stay safe inside of the classroom. Despite that, the CDC guidelines on separation haven’t changed, and Michigan’s largest teachers union says our expectations shouldn’t either.

David Crim with the Michigan Education Association says we shouldn’t let kids sit so close together until the CDC is sure it’s safe.

“We have a number of members who are still hesitant to go back into the classroom,” Crim said. “So we are not in favor of reducing the social distance from three from six to three people.”

Its latest school guidelines recommend students stay six feet apart, but a study published in a medical journal found no increased risk for students or teachers with three feet of social distancing. The idea of moving kids closer is to allow more students in the classroom every day.

Sarah Taylor has a young son in Jackson ISD. He goes to school in person just 2 days per week.

Taylor said, “It breaks my heart to think that I’ve got this kid, he wants to go to school, he wants to learn, you know, he’s got a little friend in school and he just adores him and that social interaction is so key to long term development in everyone.”

Schools in Massachusetts and Illinois allow students to sit closer. The MEA says they would consider changing its stance if the CDC changes its guidance.

“You can find a range of experts with a range of opinions about what can be done,” Crim said. “So it is frustrating, but we’re hoping that people by now understand that there is a preeminent voice of authority, and that’s the Center for Disease Control.”

The director of the CDC says the agency is now exploring whether students can sit closer than six feet apart.

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