Returning to Learning: 3 Ways to Do It Safely – Part 1
Safety First: Prepping Post-COVID Learning Spaces
As we navigate the new post-COVID world, universities and schools are either returning students to the classroom or planning a later return while temporarily utilizing remote learning. Many of these institutions remain cautious and are making changes in waves. And by now, we’re aware: the first attempts at in-person education after the onset of the pandemic have had mixed results. The educational experts at bkm want to lend a hand in prepping these post-COVID learning spaces for optimal reentry.
A strategy is required; one that creates a safe physical environment following new safety protocols that allow people to interact and learn. Allow our specialized education design and sales consultants help you to identify a safe return-to-learn plan and complimentary floor plan analysis focusing on 3 key strategies:
- Density: the number of people per sq. ft./m
- Geometry: furniture arrangement and use of space
- Design for disinfection
These strategies can help create elevated administrative and learning spaces that, when supplemented with new safety guidelines, allow people to confidently come back to school or campus.
Contact us today at (858) 569-4700 or complete this contact form to receive a FREE risk assessment and floor plan analysis.
Density. Geometry. Division.
Educational institutions want to bring students and educators back to physical learning spaces because they know it’s the best place to enhance learning and impact student success. Not to mention — people have grown weary of isolation and look forward to being able to speak directly to others.
As institutions plan for in-person classes and activities to return in waves, they need a strategy for the physical environment that follows new safety protocols and allows people to interact and learn.
Three key strategies to consider when retrofitting spaces now or re-configuring in the near-term are:
- Density: the number of people per sq. ft/m
- Geometry: how the furniture is arranged
- Division: using screens, panels, or barriers
These strategies should be used in combination to create administrative and learning spaces that, when supplemented with new safety guidelines, allow people to confidently come back to school or campus. Going forward, institutions will want to create a diverse range of spaces that are highly adaptable to allow them to navigate what’s next. Additional tips:
Smaller Classes + Meetings
Establish protocols for the number of people who can occupy an enclosed space. Post that information so it is commonly understood. Adhere to local guidance about the numbers of people allowed in a gathering and ensure the room supports physical distancing.
Download our free signage packet which can be used to create safety signs in your learning spaces.
To encourage physical distancing, consider removing chairs and desks or spreading them at least 6ft/2m apart. For classrooms, consider a checkerboard pattern — increasing the spaces directly beside or in front of where students might sit. Consider setting up classrooms in larger, temporarily unused spaces such as gymnasiums, libraries, or art rooms.
Reconfigure freestanding desks and workstations to reduce sitting face-to-face without a barrier; rotate desks 90-degrees to face in different directions.
Where possible, assign students to the same individual chair or desk to use throughout the academic period. Consider having students remain in one location while educators move from space to space. Encourage cleaning throughout the day.
Adding division is especially important when a minimum of 6ft/2m can’t be achieved. Add screens in front, beside, and behind people — the higher, wider, and more easily cleaned, the better. Provide user-configurable screens in self-directed spaces to ensure autonomy and protection.
In part two of this series, we will discuss how design options — from desk dividers to moveable wall partitions and collaborative smart devices — can reinforce social distancing and keep students safe.
In the meantime, contact us at (858) 569-4700 or complete this contact form to receive a FREE risk assessment and floor plan analysis of your school or other learning facilities.