by Lucy Wyndham
Earlier this year, the Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in the mass closure of schools and other learning institutions as governments all over the world have implemented strict social distancing rules to curb the further spread of the virus. Although some areas of the United States are drawing up plans to reopen schools this September, it is expected that many schools will stay closed until a vaccine becomes available. In other parts of the world, remote learning has been deemed as the safest and most feasible plan to allow children to continue their education. While online learning for the upcoming school year is also being considered in the US, there are other ways that learning spaces and schools may adapt to cope with the health crisis. Here’s how learning environments will change after the Covid-19 pandemic.
Frequent sanitation to protect against the virus
Since March, medical experts have advised people to wear masks and practice good hygiene habits to reduce the risks of being infected with the coronavirus. Homeowners and businesses are also doing their part to keep their premises safe from the virus through regular disinfection, and learning environments may take the same approach once the school year starts. Hot spots such as door handles and hard surfaces, such as tables and chairs, may undergo a thorough clean every morning before classes start, and in the afternoon after the bell rings. Cleaning staff will be provided with personal protective equipment to protect themselves while they work, and educators and students will also learn to correctly and safely clean their desks and seats to avoid getting sick. Moreover, professional cleaning services may also be used at least once every two weeks to further ensure the safety of everyone.
Social distancing to be observed in the classroom
To minimize contact, schools may enforce limited seating in classrooms. If a building has reached its full capacity, it’s likely that other students may be assigned to a different school by the district. School facilities such as the gym, auditorium, and even outdoor spaces may also be utilized for classes to ensure that social distancing is being observed in the school grounds. It’s also likely that alternating face-to-face and remote learning sessions will be in place. In this scenario, students may be required to be in school for only two days, while the rest of the school week will be spent learning online lessons at home. Classroom protocols may also call for temperature checks before students can enter the school grounds.
Masks and other protective gear may become mandatory
Children and teachers may be required to wear face masks and other protective gear, such as face shields and gloves, once the school year starts. To make this practice more economical, everyone may be encouraged to use reusable masks, while gloves will only be used while doing certain activities, such as group projects or while handling food items. Meanwhile, private schools may provide their student body with customized face masks in the school colors and make it a part of the required uniform.
As we transition into the new normal, it’s expected that schools will also be doing their part to adapt amidst the ongoing threat of the coronavirus. Educators and parents should work together to keep children safe, while planning the best course of action to take to ensure continued learning during the Covid-19 pandemic.