SARATOGA COUNTY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — While New York State continues to review the CDC’s updated guidelines on social distancing in schools, local superintendents are outlining what the changes could look like in their schools.
Bruce Potter, superintendent of the Mechanicville City School District, calls the change of social distancing guidelines from six feet to three a game changer.
Students K-6, as well as exceptional learners, are in the classroom each day, while grades 7-12 are in a hybrid model.
“By reducing the physical distance between students from 6 feet to 3 feet would allow us to have all of our 7th through 12th students who are eligible and want to be here, because it’s still an option for remote learning, that parents get to choose, they can be here every day instead of every other day,” Potter said.
Meanwhile, the Shenendehowa Central School District will take time to analyze how the guidelines will look there.
Like Mechanicville, their students K-6 are in the class every day, while secondary students are hybrid.
“Question is do you create a huge upheaval and get what in return? Versus using that time as a way for us to pilot some things, as a way for us to run simulations, so when we are full-bore for September, potentially, we are absolutely ready at that point,” says Dr. L. Oliver Robinson, the district’s superintendent.
But relaxing social distancing in the classroom from six feet to three isn’t the only change in the new guidance.
The CDC recommends three feet for all elementary students, regardless of community COVID-19 cases. Meanwhile, middle and high school students in high transmission areas should remain at six feet, unless students can stay in the same room with the same staff.
“Elementary’s almost designed for cohort, right because kids stay with the same teacher all day. But when you have kids crossing various course offerings, in some cases you have kids in different grade levels sitting in the same courses, it makes it a little bit more of a challenge,” Robinson said.
CDC guidance continues to recommend six feet of distance out of the classroom, including in common areas, hallways and between adults.