COVID-19 has brought much uncertainty — which continues to impact schools, colleges and universities across the country and world. While the fall usually marks the return to school, the physical place, this year, classrooms, study halls, cafeterias and libraries looked different — and they will for the foreseeable future. In the post-COVID-19 era, the physical learning environment will take a different shape out of necessity and safety.
Reconfiguring Can Help Keep Them Safe
The foremost priority of schools, colleges and universities is safety. While students can come back on a staggered schedule and institutions can enact a combined in-person and remote learning model, much can also be done to ensure the physical leaning space supports recommended social distancing guidelines. Common tips include limiting classroom and meeting room capacities or keeping students in one place while teachers move to different classrooms. Reconfiguring is also key. Supplement existing furniture with barriers, add screens, separate desk and determine a consistent walking flow can all help.
“…MUCH CAN ALSO BE DONE TO ENSURE THE PHYSICAL LEANING SPACE SUPPORTS RECOMMENDED SOCIAL DISTANCING GUIDELINES.”
Fluid Spaces = Enhanced Learning Opportunities
Repurposing larger spaces, like gyms or cafeterias, further supports social distancing guidelines of at least six feet apart and no face-to-face contact. Products like the Steelcase Roam Mobile Cart and Microsoft Surface Hub 2S enable educators to create new learning environments—like on the football field or outdoor courtyard. The flexibility of spaces and the products in them will support blended learning and enhance the environment, and thus the learning experience for students and educators.
Use Easy-to-Clean Products
Regardless of how a space is reconfigured or in what ways students, educators and staff move through the learning space, disinfecting will still happen on a regular basis. Ensuring all surfaces can be sufficiently cleaned is vital to stopping the spread of the virus. If new products are being purchased, consider their surfaces. Smooth, non-porous materials will be easier to wipe down consistently.
While schools, colleges and universities continue to navigate the changing academic landscape post-COVID-19, know that there are opportunities ahead to support students, educators and staff as they physically return to the learning environment. Enlist the help of McCoy Rockford to help think through these tips and initiate them.