One controversial part of the Massachusetts plan to reopen schools is the section on social distancing. Before reading the plan, keep in mind that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommended maintaining a physical distance of six feet between individuals to stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Here is their social distancing plan for schools reopening:
●Distancing requirements: Schools should aim for a physical distance of six feet when feasible, and three feet is the minimum distance allowed. Schools should seek to maximize physical distance among individuals within their physical and operational constraints.
●Classroom and facility configuration: To the extent possible, desks should be spaced six feet apart (but no fewer than three feet apart) and facing the same direction.
●Alternative spaces in the school (e.g., cafeteria, library, and auditorium) should be repurposed to increase the amount of available space to accommodate the maximum distance possible. In these larger spaces, establishing consistent cohorts/classes with separation between the cohorts/classes provides another option to maximize these spaces safely.
●Additional safety precautions are required for school nurses and/or any staff supporting students with disabilities in close proximity, when distance is not possible:These precautions must include eye protection (e.g., face shield or goggles) and a mask/face covering. Precautions may also include gloves and disposable gowns or washable outer layer of clothing depending on duration of contact and especially if the individual may come into close contact with bodily fluids.
Although not as feasible, 6 feet social distancing is known to be safer. What do you think of them reducing the number to only 3 feet? Be sure to check here soon for the school reopening plan for how to manage student groups.