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CDC to change school social distancing guidelines as metro Detroit schools deal with outbreaks

Posted at 5:30 AM, Mar 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-19 05:44:23-04

(WXYZ) — Friday could be the last day your kids are told to stay six feet apart in schools. The CDC is expected to change social distancing guidelines in schools from six feet to three feet.

It comes as many Michigan schools are batting new COVID-19 outbreaks.

The new recommendation is based in part on a study of more than 200 school districts in Massachusetts, which found no real difference between three feet and six feet when it comes to social distancing.

But, here in Michigan, COVID-19 cases are trending up again, and schools like Livonia Stevenson High School are reporting outbreaks. 230 kids are in quarantine as the district confirmed 11 new student cases.

“We’re seeing increases particularly in high school settings now at 105 outbreaks in the high school setting.”

It's not the kind of news people want to hear before the CDC changes guidelines from six feet to three feet for social distancing.

Students and teachers at Marysville High School in St. Clair County have 12 new cases, and there are 19 new cases at Lutheran High School in Oakland County.

“We’re getting very close to the end, there’s certainly light at the end of the tunnel, but the fact of the matter is there’s still that risk out there," Beaumont Internal Medicine Physician Dr. Justin Skrzynski said.

Livonia Stevenson recently stopped in-person learning due to a new outbreak. So did Oxford High School, where nearly 200 students are in quarantine and more than 20 have already tested positive for COVID-19.

School officials say that outbreak is linked to social gatherings outside of school.

At the same time, Michigan's case numbers are trending in the wrong direction as variant cases of the viruses are growing. The state said 25% of Michiganders 16 and up have received at least one dose of the vaccine.

“The vaccines that we have should be mostly effective against these still…progressing the severe disease," Skrzynski said.

By and large, health officials have said younger students transmit the virus less and are less likely to get infected. A lot of new outbreaks we're seeing are in high schools.

Of course, this anticipated change in social distancing guidelines does not change mask guidelines for students.

CDC guidelines say anyone older than five should have a face covering at all times except when they're eating.

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