MADISON COUNTY, Ala. – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Friday it is changing distancing requirements in schools. Instead of keeping elementary and middle school students six feet apart in classrooms, they can now be kept three feet apart.
Right now, it’s too early to tell what changes will be made in Huntsville City, Madison City and Madison County schools. None of the school systems have made changes to social distancing policies yet.
The new guidance says new studies build on evidence that physical distancing of at least three feet between students can safely be adopted in classroom settings where mask use is universal and other prevention measures are taken.
Six feet of distancing is still required for adults at schools, in common areas like lobbies and auditoriums, and when masks can’t be worn – such as when eating.
A spokesperson for Madison County schools says Superintendent Allen Perkins will talk with the district nurse. But at this time, they are not changing their current COVID-19 procedures.
A spokesperson for Madison City Schools says the school system will wait for guidance from ADPH before making any COVID-19 policy changes.
Huntsville City Schools says they base their COVID-19 policies on guidance from the Alabama Department of Public Health – not the CDC. A spokesperson for the school system says they will monitor guidance from ADPH and go from there.
News 19 reached out to ADPH. Dr. Karen Landers, confirmed the agency plans to update the state’s Back to School Toolkit with the new CDC guidance. She could not say exactly when those changes will be made, only that people can expect the new guidance in the next few to several days.
She also said even though the CDC says students can sit closer in classrooms, a person is still considered “exposed” if they have been within six feet of someone who tests positive for COVID-19, for 15 minutes or more.