Teachers union pushes back on CDC distancing guidance for schools

By: | March 24, 2021

The President of the country’s most politically powerful teachers union called into question the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s decision last week to revise from 6 feet to 3 feet its social distancing guidance in schools, arguing that the science backing the decision doesn’t take into account the unique challenges most urban school districts face.

“Although I was very worried about the implications of the shift, I reserved judgment until we could review the new studies that were presented,” American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten wrote in a letter to CDC Director Rochelle Walensky and Education Secretary Miguel Cardona. “We have done that this weekend.”

“We appreciate that the body of knowledge regarding the impact of COVID-19 in school environments is expanding, but we are not convinced that the evidence supports changing physical distancing requirements at this time,” she continued. “Our concern is that the cited studies do not identify the baseline mitigation strategies needed to support 3 feet of physical distancing. Moreover, they were not conducted in our nation’s highest-density and least-resourced schools, which have poor ventilation, crowding and other structural challenges.”

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