(Reuters) – The US government on Friday updated its COVID-19 guide to limit the acceptable distance between students wearing masks to at least three feet from at least six feet, possibly facilitating the path for schools that have struggled to reopen under previous recommendations.
The new recommendation from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is a boost to the Biden administration's goal of resuming personal learning for millions of public school students without triggering outbreaks of the virus.  Many schools continue to teach distance students more than a year after the new coronavirus caused widespread closures across the United States.
The new guide applies to students from kindergarten to high school and in areas with low, moderate and extensive transmission of COVID-1
The CDC has been under pressure to relax its guidance to schools, and director Rochelle Walensky said this week that the agency looked in part at data from a recent Massachusetts study that suggested narrower distances had not affected COVID-19 transmission.
Many schools do not have classroom space to hold six feet between students, and outside the United States Public Health Recommendations for Social Distancing, begin at about three feet and extend to more than six.
The guide urged schools to conduct a comprehensive COVID-19 testing of students and said that such regular use of screening tests offers extra protection for schools that require less than six meters of separation.
School districts should extend screening for students participating in sports or other activities outside of school and consider universal screening before sporting events.
The Agency continues to recommend quarantines. for anyone who has been within six meters of someone who is ill with COVID-19 for more than 15 minutes within a 24-hour period.
The White House said on Wednesday that it would allocate $ 10 billion to states to support COVID-19 screening tests for teachers, staff and students to help schools resume personal instruction.
The CDC said students must wear masks on school buses and other forms of public transportation that they use to get to school. The agency issued an order in February requiring travelers to wear masks when using public transportation.
The Biden administration has called on states to vaccinate teachers and childcare workers with the goal of having them all inoculated by the end of March.  More insurance and work compensation news about the coronavirus crisis here .