ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — New York State is easing social distancing restrictions in schools.
When it comes to in-person learning during the coronavirus pandemic, students have been required to sit 6 feet apart from one another to help limit the spread of COVID-19. But now, New York State said elementary students will be able to sit 3 feet apart following guidance recently released by the CDC.
“This reduced a little bit of stress on our end,” stated Don Stevens, Assistant Superintendent of Watervliet City Schools. “The 6 foot guidance put some constraints on some of the classrooms. Not all of the classrooms can fit many students so we had some rooms with 10 or 12 kids and one teacher. So now, it gives us a little more leeway to allow all of our learners to be in-person.”
However, masks and other safety protocols are still being be required.
“Now that does not mean that they will be 3 feet socially distanced when it comes to meals, and snacks, and drinking,” explained Kaweeda Adams, Superintendent of Albany City School District. “So they cannot eat in the rooms that have been converted to the 3 feet of social distancing.”
The students must also be 6 feet away when speaking with adults in school. When it comes to music classes, new distancing guidance has also been released.
“That has now been reduced from 12 feet to 6 feet, in the guidance, so we will be continuing looking at what that looks like as we work through those details and draft those plans,” explained Adams.
For middle and high school students, physical distancing will depend on rate of infection in the county. However, before schools implement any changes, the community and local health departments must first provide input.
“I think it’s down the road; it’s nothing that we need immediately, but it’s definitely good to know that there is possibilities and where we can go in the near future,” said Stevens.