We want our students to be able to learn in a secure educational environment.

When reopening schools and educational facilities post COVID-19, learning environments will look a lot different from what they once were. Everything will adapt to a new system, from architectural changes, teaching structures, rules, to sanitation procedures.

With federal guidelines in mind, learning spaces in classrooms will need to be redesigned to maximize the safety and wellness of students and instructors to create a secure educational environment. We want to make sure our learning areas are ready to reopen with optimal health assurances for everyone.

With these renovation strategies for a brighter future in the American academic system, here are 5 unique ideas to create a secure educational environment.

1. Plan for classroom redesign

In order to meet safety standards and minimize health risks, we need to rethink classroom designs to optimize social distancing guidelines. Classrooms need fewer workstations and desks that are more spaced apart from one another, with various safety barriers to ensure a secure educational environment.

School supplies need to be reimagined as well to fit classroom layouts. Verb Whiteboard by Steelcase is an innovative invention that is designed to fit on a personal table, minimizing the need for physical contact with other classmates and teachers.

The whiteboard’s unique design also allows students to conveniently hang the boards on a hook when not in use and is remarkably double-sided. The Verb’s multi-purpose design allows students to use the product as a privacy screen when taking a test.

The Steelcase Flex height adjustable desk is a revolutionary product that can be used for computer classrooms. Because they are mobile and flexible, they can be moved around to match safety standards.

The simple and condensed design allows more desks to fit inside the classroom, compared to bulky desks that were used in the past. The height control mechanism allows students to sit on a desk or even stand up while studying.

Furthermore, The Steelcase Flex Family Collection features multiple desks that are height adjustable and slim in design. They allow students to sit or stand while not taking up too much space in the classroom. The creative and modern desk is designed for students to still have a wide enough workspace for lectures and learning.

2. Implement stricter sanitation guidelines in schools to secure educational environment

Strict sanitation guidelines are needed to ensure a safe and healthy learning experience for students and faculty. With fluctuating federal safety guidelines for a safer return back to school, institutions should implement new safety procedures.

Schools need to develop daily monitoring practices to ensure the safety of students and school workers. A good way to achieve this goal is to have a station in front of the schools to check the temperature of everyone who enters. Students should be informed to stay home if they are not feeling well, and counselors can check up on students at home who are absent.

Another sanitation guideline schools can administer is to enforce stricter handwashing procedures. Having mobile handwashing stations located throughout the facility will help enable both students and faculty to clean their hands more often. Employees can also be instructed to wear a clear face barrier that is protective but also thin enough for other people to hear them speak.

Privacy screens and dividers should be used on student desks to adapt to a post-COVID workspace. Frost-Barber’s Panel Systems and Desk Dividers are amazing products for students to practice social distancing in classrooms. The high and long panel systems can be added to a desk to act as a barrier for students. The product is dense enough for students to minimize face-to-face interactions, but also can be used to retrofit existing workstations. The panels can also be placed under a glass screen that adds even more protection for a secure learning environment.

Frost-Barber’s Freestanding hand sanitizer systems are amazing inventions to add to your classrooms and restrooms. Increasingly, buildings such as hotels, airports, and stores are adding freestanding hand sanitizer dispensers for customers to use. Schools should think about including dispensers in the socializing areas such as near the cafeteria, restrooms, gyms, libraries, and classrooms prior to reopening.

Furthermore, changes to staffing to include more maintenance staff should be considered.  It is essential to wipe areas such as tables, restrooms, and chairs where students have been in contact with the most. They should disinfect all areas to maintain cleanliness and minimize health risks. Hand wipes and sanitizers should be provided during lunch hours on campus. The schools should focus on expanding health facilities and increase medical staff for on-site emergencies.

3. Utilize technologically advanced tools to help maintain security

In order to maintain a secure educational environment, schools can utilize technological devices that create a healthy study establishment. Some of these tools include no-touch hook door openers or the Steelcase Flex Mobile Power.

No-touch door openers allow people to enter doors or public restrooms without physically touching door handles. As mentioned before, the Steelcase Flex Mobile Power will charge up to five mobile devices at once. The device will reduce the need for students to touch outlets that other students have touched. The charging system reduces unnecessary touching while also making it convenient to carry around as well.

Frost-Barber’s Workplace Advisor is a product that allows you to conveniently measure workplace productivity and effectiveness. The device allows your business to optimize the workplace and school classes by gathering customer and student data, analyzing the data based on trends over time, and even offering advice on how to make your classroom a better environment.

The Steelcase Live Map is a groundbreaking new technological innovation that allows companies and schools to map out meeting rooms on a digital display screen. With the live map, students and faculty can find classrooms, meeting rooms, and workspaces effortlessly.

By using Workplace Advisor sensors to track room availability and desk occupancy, the advisor uses an app to schedule room bookings at your convenience. Live Map is a revolutionary product that minimizes human to human contact because students can find an open room and work area with increased productivity.

UV sterilizer and sterilizer cabinets are other technologically advanced tools that are being researched and studied by experts. They are not fully proven to be effective on all surface areas that need to be disinfected. Steelcase and other researchers are still experimenting with UV Germicidal Irradiation and testing them on furniture and other commonly used areas. Many laboratories are still working hard to invent new products that are beneficial in creating a secure educational environment.

The Steelcase Flex Mobile Power is a globally leading charging device that charges five mobile units at once in less than eight hours. The creative device is lightweight and even features a handle that allows students to hook the device onto their desks.

4. Minimize student density in a classroom and redesign social spaces

In order to maintain a secure educational environment, schools need to reshape various facilities that students and faculty use. The break rooms, cafeterias, outdoor socializing spaces, and even the human capacity for classrooms should be reconfigured to meet optimal health standards.

For example, break rooms and cafeterias should have capacity limits, or rules can be put in place to have students line up for food six feet apart similar to grocery stores. Tables and chairs can be eliminated inside the cafeterias so that students cannot loiter around or have too much social contact with one another.

Similarly, outdoor seating areas can be spaced apart or have a divider between them, so that students can eat without having to worry about sanitation. Students should be kept from sharing utensils and food, to help stay safe. Teachers can educate students on proper social distancing techniques.

Classrooms should try to keep their capacity at half or lower. If the classrooms allowed a capacity of 25 students, the capacity should be reduced to 12 so that the desks and chairs could be spread out further from each other.

5. Ensure trust and reliability for students and parents for a safe return back to school

Even though these practices are enforced, students and parents may still worry about sending their children back to school. Because the future remains so ambiguous, some parents may want to homeschool their kids or continue to enroll them in virtual classes. Therefore, making sure schools have all of the safety and maintenance regulations in place is vital.

Schools should offer extra courses about disease prevention and sanitation so that students can learn about protecting themselves. They should be educated about staying healthy and safe, and continuously practice social distancing among peers. Teachers and instructors should continuously remind students about washing their hands and keeping their workspaces clean.

In order to reassure parents about the safety of sending their children back to school, faculty can offer virtual meetings with parents, or have an online chat system available to answer parents’ questions about school safety. Schools can adapt to be more flexible so that they ensure the safety of their students.

For the time being, it is important to cancel sports games, assemblies, and concerts where a lot of people would gather together. These steps are important to maintaining a clean educational environment.

In Conclusion…

These are 5 unique ideas that can help you create a secure educational environment. Redesigning the infrastructure of schools and complementing appropriate furniture can help protect students and teachers. Adding more safety rules and educating children about hygiene will help provide a safer environment. Technology such as Live Map is advancing to fit the needs of schools, and benefiting students in remarkable ways. In order to reopen schools, social spaces must be reconfigured to maximize social distancing. Most importantly, schools must provide resources and restore confidence in parents to send their children back to schools. In order for our students to come back to a healthy and safe establishment, we must take the appropriate steps and prepare for a brighter future.