March 23, 2021

Data regarding distancing is constantly evolving, but members of Panel 4 are confident that PSB can begin to move away from a strict distance of six feet at all times, and towards three to six feet during masked times with reliance on strong ventilation.

“We have better and better data now that the difference between three and six foot distancing really does not make any appreciable difference in safety profile when people are masked,” Gacioch said.

A relaxation of distancing policies will aid in solving one of the biggest problems in the high school: space. Mason said he has already run into difficulties accommodating larger classes of in-person students in classrooms at 115 Greenough street, and said that crowding and spacing is his biggest concern right now. At Old Lincoln School (OLS), the classrooms are even smaller, which has barred freshmen students from beginning four-day learning thus far. With a standard of three to six feet instead of a strict six foot rule, Mason said that he can arrange and accommodate a lot more students to attend school in person.

A clear distancing protocol and statement is still being worked out, but last week the district decided that a minimum distance of three feet was safe given the other precautions. As more students return to school full-time, the district appears to be headed towards this reduced distance to allow for larger class sizes.

“It seems like {less distancing} is where it seems like we’re heading towards, but that’s still being worked out by the district,” said Mason.

Members of Panel 4 have walked through the high school building with Mason to give their advice about next steps in terms of mapping out safe and appropriate places for students to learn. They also answered questions from the staff, especially in regards to distancing.

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