U of U Health Advised CDC On New COVID-19 School Guidance
Mar 19, 2021, 3:38 PM
(Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The University of Utah played a key role in advising the Centers for Disease Control’s new guidance for school safety that said schools should return to in-person learning and just three feet of social distancing will keep students safe.
The three feet of distancing is a change from the previous guideline of six feet.
A recent study by the Utah Hero Project looked at how COVID-19 spread at 20 Granite School District elementary schools during the height of the pandemic. The researchers found overwhelming evidence that even students who came within three feet of a sick classmate were protected from COVID-19 as long as they were wearing a mask.
“This is one of the strongest pieces of evidence yet, certainly, in an elementary school that in-person schooling can be safe when there’s a multi-layer prevention strategy that is really accepted and really enforced and put into place,” said Dr. Andrew Pavia, infectious disease expert at the University of Utah.
Dr. Pavia pointed out another important finding in the study, that students who get sick are much more likely to spread that infection at home than to a fellow masked classmate.
He said that reinforces the Governor’s recommendation that schools keep requiring masks through the end of the school year.
The Utah Hero Project is a collaboration between U of U Health and the David Eccles School of Business.