Students in La Crosse area schools will no longer have to be 6 feet apart in classrooms

The CDC changed its social distancing guidelines Friday, recommending students in classrooms be spaced 3 feet apart instead of 6

(WKBT) – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is recommending students in K through 12 schools can now be three feet apart from each other instead of six.

The federal health organization says the latest science on social distancing shows it’s safe kids in school can be spaced apart three feet in classrooms.

The CDC still suggests everyone wears a mask while in class.

Elementary schoolers can be three feet apart in classrooms no matter how high COVID-19 transmission is in the community

However, middle and high schoolers should be six feet from one another where virus transmission is high, and if cohorting is not possible. This is because middle and high school kids can be exposed and spread the virus easier than elementary kids.

High cases and transmission have not been a big issue for some of our schools locally. Both the La Crosse and Onalaska school districts say they have had low amounts of cases with six foot distancing guidelines. La Crosse has had one documented case of transmission in school buildings, while Onalaska has had one suspected case of transmission.

Both the La Crosse and Onalaska superintendents say they’re confident with the CDC’s new guidelines.

And ultimately, the guidance shows improved progress of keeping kids in school every week.

“We’re very confident that three feet with the mitigation strategies continues to ensure safe learning spaces for everyone,” School District of Onalaska superintendent Todd Antony said.

“We know that in-person learning is best for most kids and that most of our parents want their kids in school five days a week,” School District of La Crosse superintendent Aaron Engel said. “And we’re doing everything we can to facilitate that. And this CDC change in their guidelines certainly helps make that a reality.”

The CDC also recommends the following six foot distancing measures:

  • Between school teachers, students and other staff.
  • In common areas, including lobbies and auditoriums.
  • When masks can’t be worn, like eating or drinking.
  • Activities that require increased exhalation.
  • In community settings not including the classroom.