Following reports that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) may be looking to change its guidance for social distancing at schools from 6-feet to 3-feet the agency’s director said they are continuing to look at the data “carefully.”
Dr. Rochelle Walensky said in a White House briefing held Monday that the decision to recommend 6-feet first came from early studies conducted with and without masks, and was based on aerosol transmission of droplets from other respiratory droplets like the flu.
“As soon as we put out our guidance among the biggest challenges that we were aware of was that schools were having a hard time with the 6-foot guidance, and that of course prompted more studies to say is 6-feet necessary in the context of mask wearing,” Walensky said, adding that the first study published comparing 3-feet to 6-feet was conducted in Massachusetts.
In the study, there was 100% mask-wearing among students and staff and the data demonstrated that both populations had similar infection rates at 6-feet versus 3-feet.
“We are looking at this study carefully,” Walensky said. “The question actually prompted more studies to be done so we know more are forthcoming. We’re taking all of those data carefully and revisiting our guidance in that context.”
Last week, one of the researchers behind an opinion piece that claimed the CDC misinterpreted data on safe distancing in the classroom told Fox News that an unnamed employee at the agency expects a shift in the guidance to come “soon.” Dr. Monica Ghandi, a professor of medicine and association division chief of the Division of HIV, Infectious Disease and Global Medicine at University California-San Francisco told Fox News that the unnamed CDC employee is involved with the school reopening response, and is eager to see the change.
Fox News’ Kayla Rivas contributed to this report.