We've been tracking the most promising proposed solutions to helping keep schools open amidst the global pandemic
The status of schools across the globe varies greatly as each region deals with its own challenges stemming from the ongoing health crisis. Even within specific states in countries like the United States, there is not a consistent approach — mixing virtual learning with in-person classes.
For educators, the task of keeping our children safe from the coronavirus is an ongoing fight, but potential help could be found in the innovative ideas coming in response to COVID. We’ve been tracking the most promising proposed solutions to helping keep schools open amidst the global pandemic, and have curated the best ones below.
1. ‘TREE-HOUSE SCHOOL’ DESIGNED FOR THE COVID ERA
US-based designer Valentino Gareri has come up with a modular educational centre concept featuring two ring-shaped structures that blend outdoor and indoor spaces. The “Tree-House School” addresses health concerns stemming from COVID-19 while incorporating sustainable features and a modular design that allows for future expansion based on capacity needs.
Classrooms would be well-ventilated, and social distancing would be easier to achieve due to the extra spaces incorporated in the design. Rooms can also be repurposed for different functions, including temporary medical centres or short-term residential units.
2. CUSTOMISABLE FACE SHIELDS FOR SCHOOL CHILDREN
As schools in Luxembourg prepared to reopen earlier this year, Metaform Architects re-adapted a medical face shield that could be used by young children in the classroom. Educators and parents can collaborate with their kids in the making of the masks by downloading a kit featuring printable templates. “The main goal is to reduce the frequency a child touches his/her face, outside the classroom, in the school hallway, courtyard, from school to home. To dedramatize this new situation and to reduce the potential anxiety in kids and parents, we introduce a creative add-on, which kids can personalize, and wear and exhibit proudly,” the firm says.
3. TENT CLASSROOM OFFERS COVID-SAFE ALTERNATIVE
British studio Curl la Tourelle Head believes its concept tent classrooms could enable students to return to school while respecting social distancing guidelines. Pop-up teaching spaces would be assembled on the school’s playing fields or other nearby outdoor spaces and used alongside the school’s existing buildings. Inside, the tents would be arranged so that pupils are separated from each other by two metres.
The concept was inspired by tents being used by nurseries in Denmark. While the concept is currently designed for coronavirus social distancing, Curl la Tourelle Head hopes it could lead to a wider rethinking of the classroom and school design, or even inspire the concept of outdoor schooling.
4. COLOURFUL SCREENS ENCOURAGE SOCIAL DISTANCING IN CLASSROOMS
UK furniture design and fabrication firm UNIT Fabrications developed a series of colourful, mobile screens to help school children with social distancing in classrooms. The screens were initially created as a special request by a local primary school, which needed a way to divide its existing space without making the school feel like a prison. UNIT came up with the idea for colourful plywood screens. The screens are low enough to allow teachers to see over them and are mounted on castors to make them easy to move around.
5. PROTECTIVE CLASSROOM DESK DIVIDERS
Concerned about her 11-year-old son returning to the classroom, a Sunderland-based mother and designer developed an affordable and colourful desk divider. Louise Stephenson, who runs a local printing business, wants to work with schools to create bespoke designs for the dividers, allowing them to be personalised with a child’s name, school logo and other information.
6. HANDS-FREE DOOR HANDLE TO PREVENT COVID SPREAD
London-based architectural designers, Ivo Tedbury and Freddie Hong, created a 3D-printed device that adapts door handles to be opened without the use of hands, with the aim to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
The design consists of a curved plastic device that can be attached to fire escape-style pull door handles with cable ties. Instead of using hands to open a door, users can loop their arm through the adaptor and pull the door open.
7. SANITISING TUNNELS AND BOOTHS
Mumbai-based retail décor firm, Surreal Design Studio, created sanitising tunnels and booths that can be used at the entrance of high-density public hotspots. While they were developed with bricks-and-mortar stores in mind, these walk-in systems could also provide students with a touch-free experience and can sanitise them within a five-second time frame. They are fitted with an integrated supply and drainage system to ensure no spillage or maintenance issues.
Written and Curated By: Justin Sablich
Follow on Twitter: @JustinSablich
23rd September 2020