SAN LEANDRO, Calif. (KRON) – As more students across the Bay Area prepare to return to the classroom, the CDC might change social distancing guidelines in schools. 

The new recommendation would shorten the distance between students from six feet to three feet. 

The major change would come as the debate over reopening classrooms continues. 

This idea is based on a recent study which found that 3 feet of separation was just as safe as 6 feet as long as consistent mask wearing was happening. 

The new director of the CDC says the science around social distancing has changed and a UCSF infectious disease specialist believes teachers and students can be safe heading back to school.

A big change to CDC guidance around social distancing within classrooms. 

It’s expected the agency will update the separation requirements between students from 6 feet to three feet. 

“The faster we can bring these kids back to school the better for all of us, for all of society,” Dr. Peter Chin-Hong said.

UCSF professor and infectious disease specialist Dr. Peter Chin-Hong says the new recommendation would not be surprising. 

He says the risk of transmission is low between students within schools and applying the new separation requirements with other protocols such as mask wearing and ventilation would make the environment safe. 

Vaccinating teachers is also an important layer. 

“Physical distance or social distance is just one of many strategies we use in a very low-risk population,” Chin-Hong said.

The American Academy of Pediatrics and the World health organization have both stated three feet of distance should be the minimum. 

One of the main reason’s why U.S. schools have remained closed is because of the CDC has insisted on 6 feet of separation. 

CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky addressed revising the school guidance on Wednesday.

“As soon as our guidance came out, it became very clear that six feet were among the things that were keeping schools closed. And in that context, science evolves. So there has been one study that was published late last week that demonstrated in Massachusetts where there is generally 100% mask-wearing that three feet was actually safe. Student rates and teacher rates of disease were the same in six feet versus three feet,” Walensky said.

A spokesperson for the Oakland Unified School District gave a brief reaction to the possible change saying: 

“It’s encouraging news. it’s not going to change anything for OUSD immediately. we want to see what happens as this trickles down from the federal level to state and county health officials.”

Some parents say they trust the science.

The CDC Director acknowledged it’s important to get children back into classrooms but has not given a timeline on when the updated guidance would come out. 

The agency is still reviewing several other studies before making any recommendations.