GOOD MORNING AMERICA – Citing the “preponderance of the available evidence from U.S. schools,” the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Friday that 3-feet of distance among students is sufficient in the classroom so long as masks and other mitigation steps are taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
By easing spacing requirements, the new guidance is likely to make it significantly easier for many of the nation’s estimated 57 million K-12 students to return to the classroom in-person full-time.
It also makes it easier for President Joe Biden to make good on his promise of reopening most schools five days a week.
“The goal really is to reopen schools as quickly and safely as possible,” Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said Thursday at a virtual forum sponsored by the CAA Foundation.
“Yes, I anticipate schools will be open in the fall, but I want them open in the spring. We can do it,” Cardona added.
The CDC’s earlier suggestion that schools strictly enforce 6-feet of distancing in areas with high rates of COVID-19 meant that much of the country would have to go virtual or hybrid until case levels dropped — or ignore CDC recommendations — because of space limitations.
Students work on an art project during class, while socially distanced with protective partitions, at the Sinaloa Middle School in Novato, Calif.
The new guidelines still encourage 6-feet of distancing around teachers and among children who are eating without a mask on, exercising, singing or shouting.
“These updated recommendations provide the evidence-based roadmap to help schools reopen safely, and remain open, for in-person instruction,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said in a statement.
The decision prompted swift pushback from teachers unions, which said the research didn’t look at underfunded urban schools and ignored the risks of aerosol exposure.
Union leaders met Thursday at the White House with Vice President Kamala Harris …
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RESTAURANT OWNERS CALL FOR 3 FEET OF SOCIAL DISTANCING TO MAKE CAPACITY INCREASE WORTHWHILE
WKTV, NEWSCHANNEL2, UTICA, N.Y. — For larger-sized restaurants, the announcement allowing for increased capacity is good news.
Restaurants with smaller dining rooms see the increase a little differently. For the past few months, restaurants have been kept at 50% capacity to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Last week, Governor Cuomo announced that the number can go up to 75%. But restaurants still need to follow health guidelines including mask-wearing and social distancing.
It’s the 6 feet of social distancing rule that’s preventing restaurants with smaller dining rooms from reaping the benefits of the announcement.
“Right now it doesn’t make a huge difference you still need the social distancing rules those guidelines are still in place,” said Ventura’s manager Nina Leist.
Leist said the dining room in Ventura’s can fit more tables, but they’re not allowed to place them in the dining room because of social distancing. Leist said Ventura’s is using their banquet hall downstairs to occupy more customers.
Over in Herkimer County, Rocky Fiato, owner of the Waterfront Grille, is in the same boat … SOURCE.