How To Cater For Social Distancing And Other Measures In School Design23-06-2020
The distancing rules have proven to have a positive impact on combating the spread of COVID-19 but have resulted in a devastating effect on the economy. Many industries like the hospitality, transport and educational sectors have found it difficult to accommodate the social distancing rules whilst being able to function effectively. Some students are slowly being reintroduced back to the school environment but abiding by the Government’s strict social distancing rules of 2m. In our previous blog, we offered a promotion on our exam desks as they are easily portable and allow each student their own personal space. We now want to explore some more suggestions of how to create a safe and joyful space for students to learn and thrive in.
Our first suggestion for helping to support social distancing is to rethink what you know about space. Many schools have large playgrounds which could be utilised to bring the classroom outside. By using space outside, learning can become more interactive with nature and the fresh air reduces the risk of contamination. If learning outside is not feasible, keeping windows open allows for adequate ventilation and helps to prevent stagnant or harmful air droplets from spreading.
Inside the classroom and breakout spaces, social distancing can be encouraged through ‘zoning’. Flexible zones can be created using soft furnishings, moveable partitions and even plants as they break up large areas into smaller units. These ‘zones’ can be divided into individual study areas or into ‘social bubbles’ so children stay within the same group of people, lowering the risk of infection. Because zones are usually created primarily through furniture, it is cost effective and can be adjusted once the lockdown rules change. For example, incorporating a mix of seating such as our Penta, Sketch and Quadra seating range can create endless arrangements of designs for private arrangements and encourages creative and modern learning.
Alongside adequate ventilation and social distancing, it is important that all students and staff are frequently washing their hands and that all surfaces are sanitised daily. X-Mist is an effective and easy maintenance solution to enhance day-to-day cleaning. X-Mist stays active for up to 7 days on surfaces and kills 99.999% of bacteria. Equally, Sanitiser Station’s wooden and metal units can be placed in busy areas like entrances/exits and receptions to encourage regular cleaning and are sensor-operated, so no touch is required. This will ensure that all students are washing their hands before entering the premises. You can find out more about X-Mist and our range of Sanitiser Stations here.
When selecting worktop materials, it is important to choose one that can withstand high amounts of cleaning like Solid Grade Laminate or Velstone as they are easy to clean and resistant to chemicals. However, whilst it is important to select durable materials, you should not make educational spaces look too clinical. Transitioning from a home environment back to school is a daunting prospect for many students so keeping the educational environment homely will ease that transition. Bright colours and soft furnishings add a welcoming and safe atmosphere to a space, particularly when used in individual study nooks or soft furnishings.
Overall, it is important that educational spaces adapt to adhere to the social distancing measures put in place. Even though the future is uncertain, we need to make spaces as safe and practical as possible for students. Get in touch with our team today!