Changes to 6ft school distancing rules expected next week

Posted at 11:25 PM, Feb 25, 2021

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — During New York Department of Health Dr. Howard Zucker's budget hearing, the commissioner said that there is currently an examination of the 6-feet distancing school policy.

"I know there is discussion on three feet, if there will be barriers," Dr. Zucker said, "We want to get these children back to school so I hope we can get this done."

Dr. Zucker says a decision is expected next week on a reform to the mandatory six-feet of distance rule in schools. This current rule has meant schools largely had to operate in hybrid models due to spacing issues. Niagara Falls City School District Superintendent Mark Laurrie hopes that the changes made are more than just a change in spacing.

"It can't just be move to three feet, it's gotta be a comprehensive look at everything that can be done," Laurrie said.

The social distance school policy has forced many students to work from home, and many parents have seen the struggles.

"It's not sustainable for us to continue in this way," Dana Hensley, a mother of Williamsville students and a member of WNY Students First said.

Hensley has two daughters in the Williamsville school district and her son had to transfer to private school due to the difficulties that hybrid models created. Hensley hopes Commisioner Zucker's new protocol can allow more children to learn in-person. Superintendent Laurrie agrees, believing that he should have a hand in his districts fate.

"It should be left to the local school districts to use their discretion to know their community to decide that it is safe and acceptable," Laurrie said.