Like many businesses and administrations worldwide, schools, colleges and universities have been deeply affected by the rapid spread of Coronavirus and in many countries, educational institutions were forced to either close, operate at reduced capacity and/or move online when possible.
Schools not only transmit knowledge and academics skills to children; they also permit socialization and the transmission of cultural norms and values to new generations. As a result, schools can be seen as a social hub where children, teachers and parents meet however the additional level of required close interaction means that virus transmission need to be considered.
Thanks to recent global and coordinated efforts from the medical and scientific communities, it is now possible to adopt local strategies that allow school reopening in a controlled manner whilst adhering to local or national government guidance.
The solutions put forward in this paper allow for the creation of additional spaces and corridors within the existing building footprint by adopting temporary and easy to install partitioning technology. Existing evidence demonstrates that available space can be re-allocated in a cost-effective way enabling and increase in social distancing, reduction in close interactions and efficient management of flow of people in and around the infrastructure.
In addition, a proactive approach by adults and children to adopting the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) and good hygiene practices will undoubtedly further reduce the transmission risk. The wide range of PPE now available makes it easier to accommodate young children and adults while considering specific requirementssuch as lip reading.
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