With the proposal to expand the number of students per classroom at the Public School System, COVID-19 Task Force chair Warren Villagomez re-emphasized the need to observe the three W’s as a means to effectively combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a meeting between the PSS officials and Villagomez, he reiterated the need to faithfully observe the three W’s of fighting the pandemic—wear a mask, wash your hands, wait at a distance—in discussing PSS’ future plans for summer school and fall classes for 2021.
Education Commissioner Dr. Alfred Ada said in a phone interview that the main topics of the meeting were the school schedule in preparation for summer school and fall classes and a proposal to expand the number of students per classroom, which may lessen the seating distances between students from 6 feet to 3 feet.
However, Villagomez reminded everyone about the science of air droplets being able to travel 30 feet in the air, so he suggested that the 6-feet rule be maintained inside classrooms.
Villagomez also added that the use of face shields would be a much better choice instead of the installation of partitions between seats.
“To increase the number of students per cohort would mean to increase the strictness of COVID-19 protocols,” Villagomez said.
Ada also cited a recent proposal from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on the idea of vaccinating teens, which raised the idea of vaccinating high schoolers first—those who are 12 to 15 years old—instead of elementary students.
“As of today, we must not put our guards down. We must not be complacent. COVID-19 is still present. Please remain patient and take care of our youth. Their education is a big responsibility but we always remind ourselves that safety should always be our main priority,” Ada said.