By CBSLA Staff

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — The CDC now says that students can be spaced 3 feet apart, rather than six, in classrooms where universal masking is observed.

The new guidelines show the CDC is turning away from the 6-foot distancing recommendation, which had forced schools to remove desks, stagger scheduling, and take other steps to keep kids apart.

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(credit: CBS)

According to its new guidelines, the CDC recommends all students keep a distance of at least 3 feet apart in classrooms where mask use is universal. But for middle and high school students in communities where COVID-19 transmission is high, the CDC recommends a distance of 6 feet apart if “cohorting” – where students are kept together with the same peers and staff throughout the school day – is not possible.

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“This recommendation is because COVID-19 transmission dynamics are different in older students – that is, they are more likely to be exposed to SARS-CoV-2 and spread it than younger children,” the CDC said.

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California state guidelines currently say students should be spaced 4 feet apart, and it’s not clear if the state will adhere with the CDC’s new recommendation of 3 feet.