When students return to classrooms, one of the first things they will have to learn is how to navigate the post-COVID environment of physical distancing and limited interaction. It will take some getting used to, but classroom furniture will play a significant role in helping students and teachers adhere to protocols.

Classroom Furniture That Meets Density, Geometry, Division Protocols

As with offices reopening, a return to the classroom will feature design strategies to deal with density (the number of people per area), geometry (how classroom furniture is arranged), and division (the use of screens, barriers, and panels for physical distancing) requirements.

Below are some recommendations for the various learning environments.

Classroom

  • Previously, classrooms were designed for class sizes of 28-32 students. In the post-COVID classroom, the number of students allowed in a class will be reduced up to half.
  • There will be greater distance between desks (in all directions) to ensure a minimum distance of two metres.
  • Using moveable and modular desks and chairs will help support multiple learning methods, such as for lectures or groupwork.
  • High transparent screens could be added on up to three sides of each table for shielding purposes.

Key products to support this environment include:

Lecture Halls

  • A typical lecture hall with a 500 seat capacity will now be reduced to approximately 30% of the previous capacity in order to ensure physical distancing.
  • Seating may be staggered for each row with at least 3 empty seats between students.
  • Adding a moveable transparent screen specifically for the educator, can allow them to move around between podium and whiteboard, while remaining protected.
  • Encourage a one-way traffic flow with hand-sanitizing stations and disinfectant wipes easily accessible.

Key products to support this environment include:

Common Space: Libraries

  • Stagger chairs at shared tables in order to adhere to the recommended physical distance.
  • Rearrange individual desks to avoid face-to-face interaction.
  • Add mobile screens between each individual table and lounge seating to provide shielding and privacy.
  • Private pods can allow students to focus without interruption and can provide shielding.

Key products to support this environment include:

New Education Model Will Continue to Feature Online Learning

The new educational reality will involve staggered student schedules to minimize contact, and a continuation of online learning. Furniture choices that can help make this endeavour a rewarding one for home-base educators include a Migration Desk, Think Chair, and Motif Panel for brainstorming. For home-based students, choices include a Turnstone Bivi height-adjustable desk, Steelcase Chair, and Turnstone Clipper Screen to partition off the learning space and provide privacy.

We are entering a new paradigm when it comes to education, and the learning curve may be steep. Contacts the experts at POI today for assistance in managing the changes and new realities.