What's The Risk Of Changing Classes?

In our series "What's the Risk?" experts weigh in on what risks different scenarios pose for transmitting COVID-19.
Posted at 2:52 PM, Aug 20, 2020

As the school year starts, you might be wondering about the risks of getting sick with COVID-19.  

We asked the experts, how risky is changing class?

Their take: The risk of contracting COVID-19 from a changing class in the hallways is high risk.

"It definitely gets higher risk once everyone is out in the hallway together. Six feet distancing goes out the window and that becomes pretty risky," Dr. Jasmine Marcelin, infectious disease specialist at Nebraska Medicine, told Newsy.

"Having students in a whole hallway capacity where it's not supervised is a concern. Also, changing classes. If you have to go up and down the stairwell, how many students can go up and down a stairwell before you know that you're no longer socially distancing? That's also a concern. So I would say that you will have moderate risk in changing classes because there will be lots of students in the hallway if they're all going to the cafeteria to pick up their lunches, for example, or if they're all just going outside to go home or to come in in the morning, being in those hallways to get to those classrooms will raise the risk factor depending on how many students are in those hallways at a time," Annette Anderson, deputy director for the Johns Hopkins University Center for Safe and Healthy Schools, told Newsy.

"Just because you're out of class doesn't mean you can take your face mask off. ... Whether you're in class or in the hallways is going to be very, very important. Face shields are very important to protect yourself, but not everybody has access to them. But they are becoming more and more prevalent. So having a face mask and a face shield is even better," Cleveland Clinic pediatric infectious diseases specialist Dr. Frank Esper said. 

For more answers on what is low, medium, or high risk, visit