CDC: Student desks can now be 3 feet apart — 3/19/21

Credit: Claire DeRosa / Wisconsin Watch

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As a growing number of Wisconsin school districts welcome students back into the classroom, new guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued Friday should make that easier. The CDC is now recommending 3 feet between students, relaxing the old 6-foot standard. According to the Associated Press, schools in some states have already been placing students 3 feet apart, and the agency was swayed by studies showing instruction could be offered safely under those conditions. The CDC also discarded guidance that students needed to be separated by plastic shields. 

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“The vaccines will enable us to start spending time together with our loved ones indoors and unmasked. Yes to hugging and spending time together unmasked, but I would still avoid restaurants because of the new variants circulating and likely lower efficacy of some of the vaccines against them.”

Linsey Marr, professor of civil and environmental engineering at Virginia Tech, speaking to the New York Times with advice for the vaccinated. 

Data to note

Click on the image above to see Wisconsin DHS COVID-19 vaccine data, which is updated daily.

Here’s a look at the Department of Health Services’ vaccine dashboard, which showed Friday that 71.2% of Wisconsinites ages 65 and older have gotten at least one dose — as have 23.8% of the state’s overall population. Racial disparities persist in distributing vaccines. The shares of Black, Hispanic and Native American residents to receive a dose remain below that of white residents.  

Public health officials continue to urge Wisconsinites to wear masks and practice physical distancing until vaccinations are more widely distributed. On Friday, DHS reported 390 additional cases and six new deaths, raising the statewide death toll to 6,562. 

WisContext offers this visualization. 

Find a vaccine site near you

DHS has this interactive map of vaccine providers across Wisconsin. Vaccinations are generally by appointment only and it may take time to schedule appointments with providers due to limited supplies of vaccines. 

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Should you post your vaccine selfie to social media? This person works in community health and says yes, with a caveat. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

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CDC: Student desks can now be 3 feet apart — 3/19/21 is a post from, a non-profit investigative news site covering Wisconsin since 2009. Please consider making a contribution to support our journalism.

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