Project Safe Schools


New CDC school guidelines suggest 3-foot distancing, some Green Country districts stick with 6

school COVID guidelines
Posted at 6:43 PM, Mar 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-23 09:20:53-04

TULSA, Okla. — A new CDC guideline for students will allow area school districts to relax some COVID safety protocols.

Six feet of distance is no longer the rule. Now, only half of that space is recommended in classrooms. The CDC released new guidance over spring break. While Green Country school leaders are happy to hear they can now reduce spacing, some are opting to keep the old six feet rule in place.

Because of the difficulty in maintaining students separated, some parents do not believe the change even makes a difference.

The CDC announced the change on Friday. The agency recommends K-12 students remain at least three feet apart as long as masks are worn.

READ MORE: CDC now recommends K-12 students keep 3 feet of distance in class, if there’s masking

“Any time they can get more interaction or get closer to each other, it’s going to help their social skills," Larry Henderson, a substitute teacher for Tulsa Public Schools, said.

Tulsa Public Schools enforces CDC protocols. Officials said they space students as much as possible. Union Public School officials said they are sticking with six feet.

“We are not going to do anything to change our practice. We’re still going to strive for six feet between students at all levels,” said John Federline, executive director for secondary education for UPS.

Leaders of Jenks Public Schools share the same sentiment as Federline.

At Muskogee Public Schools, they are reviewing the new recommendation and will likely have the board vote before making changes.

The CDC’s new distance strategy says they based the guidance on studies that show physical distancing of at least three feet can safely be adopted in classrooms where masks are used. For many, it means a small step forward to normal.

“My hope is that someday we can take these masks off completely, and we can interact with each other like shaking hands, hugging the kids,” Henderson said. “That’s what I miss the most.”

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