Declining COVID-19 cases has Massachusetts officials looking to get students back to in-person learning. Emerging data suggests that young children and schools have not been major contributors to the spread of COVID-19. A recent study led by researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center suggests that the optimal physical distance between students wearing masks in a school setting could be three feet rather than six feet. What differences could this make for children in schools, and would it have an impact on older individuals and physical distancing as the number of vaccinated adults continues to grow?
Westyn Branch-Elliman, MD, MMSc, is an infectious disease specialist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and the VA Boston, and an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. As a corresponding author on the study from BIDMC, she shares what we’ve been learning about physical distancing in schools.