Space has been a challenge for schools trying to achieve healthy social distancing. But a new study suggests safety can be achieved with less than 6 feet of space.

According to a report by WTEN/10 News Albany, the study, published in Clinical Infectious Diseases, suggests that 3 feet may be just as effective as 6 feet when it comes to safe physical distancing and controlling the spread of COVID-19 among both primary and secondary students and staff.

The authors of the study compared infection rates in Massachusetts schools, which required a minimum of 3 feet of social distancing as compared to other school districts which require at least 6 feet.

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The conclusion? No significant differences in cases.

This was, of course, when everyone was also adhering to other safety protocols such as mask-wearing.

The study has grabbed the attention of not only the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention but also Capital Region superintendents like Dr. David Perry, of the South Colonie Central School District, where grades 7-12 are on a hybrid schedule and 20 percent of the secondary grades are virtual learners.

“Three feet is very much achievable and would allow us to return to normal capacity for in-person instruction. It would be a game-changer for our students,” said Perry.

But Andrew Pallotta of the New York State United Teachers says if you want change, start with more COVID testing in schools.

“So, we don’t know if anyone is asymptomatic. So, I would rather have 6 feet or a barrier and a mask.

“And New York schools have been open. You are in mid-March; we have a couple more months of school. Why mess with something that we know has been keeping students and staff safe.”

Please check out the full story on WTEN/10 News' website here.

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