School reopening guidelines — how do CDC and Public Health Madison compare? | Local Education

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The CDC’s recommendations get more strict in the substantial and high transmission thresholds, when they state that “physical distancing of six feet or more is required.”

It’s a significant point because with those distancing measures in place, schools are unlikely to be able to fill their classrooms to normal capacities. That means some sort of hybrid option is necessary, and depending on the number of families that choose to remain virtual or attend in-person, some students may have to move to different classrooms to keep distancing in place.

Some researchers and those pushing for schools to reopen have argued that three feet of distancing is enough, which would allow classrooms to be more full with in-person students, but both the CDC and PHMDC recommend six feet.


Ventilation, which has been cited as among the most significant mitigation measures by researchers and scientists in recent months, is briefly mentioned by the CDC.

The CDC includes ventilation within its “cleaning and maintaining healthy facilities” section, adding that schools should improve it “to the extent possible such as by opening windows and doors to increase circulation of outdoor air to increase the delivery of clean air and dilute potential contaminants.”

It also suggests schools “consider ventilation system upgrades or improvements and other steps to increase the delivery of clean air and dilute potential contaminants in the school,” with a list of specific changes like increasing air filtration.

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