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How School Design Can Keep Teachers and Administrators Safe

August 31, 2020
  • K-12 Education
  • Higher Education

Nearly eight in ten teachers say they’re worried about putting their own health at risk by returning to in-person teaching this school year, according to a recent NPR/Ipsos poll.

These worries about the safety of schools present a challenge for education leaders all over the country. Whether returning to the building now, or in the future, there are several simple design changes they can implement to help make schools safer and healthier in the midst of the pandemic.

Careful Classroom Construction

The classroom is a teacher’s home base. At their desks, teachers may be able to steal a quiet moment to grade papers or chat with students between classes. Amid the pandemic, protecting this home base is more important than ever.

Through the Infinity from KI program, our team of specialists can customize transparent dividers to fit the exact dimensions of existing teachers’ and students’ desks. These dividers create a physical barrier that mitigates the spread of germs while allowing teachers to interact face-to-face with their students.

For extra security, teachers can place a Tattoo Flex Screen near the door to hold a storage caddy with hand sanitizer and other cleaning supplies. Tattoo screens are available with a markerboard surface, where teachers can write cheerful notes or quiz reminders -- or affix custom magnetized decorations.

Safe, Relaxing Break Rooms

Teacher lounges give instructors a space to plan lessons, meet with colleagues and share resources. This school year, teachers may find themselves coping with the added stress of reporting to work during a pandemic or fielding parental inquiries about safety protocol. They need safe, welcoming break rooms where they can relax and take a moment for themselves or connect with their peers.

School administrators can rely on larger-scale seating, like the solutions in our MyPlace Lounge Furniture Collection, to anchor parts of the space and provide a natural buffer between visitors to the lounge. Large-scale lounge chairs lend themselves to socially-distanced seating, so that teachers have ample space to catch up with their colleagues safely.

Individual storage lockers for teachers can serve multiple purposes. Schools can set up banks of them to delineate space or direct foot traffic in a larger break room while also providing a private place for belongings, like extra face masks or a bagged lunch. Our Connection Zone Lockers are available in a range of sizes and security options.

Looking After Administrators

From a student meeting with a guidance counselor to a parent dropping off forgotten homework, all sorts of people move through administrative offices. But that doesn’t mean germs need to come along for the ride.

In school offices, administrators can use flexible design solutions to prioritize privacy and social distancing now, while preparing to return to open floorplans when it’s safe to do so. Facilities managers might use our Tattoo Flex Screens to divide desks -- or pair them with toppers to add extra height between workstations.

Administrators can also equip desks with our Universal Height-Adjustable Screens that staff can lift up when visitors are passing through and push down when they have space to themselves.

Finding Comfort amid Uncertainty

Even as schools open in parts of the country, instructors and staff have expressed concerns about returning to the classroom. By implementing smart design solutions, district leaders can help assuage those concerns and prioritize learning -- all while keeping our communities safe.

Click to learn more about our ideas and options for safely returning to school.

by Bryan Ballegeer  Education Market VP

As KI's VP of Education, Bryan provides KI with research and insight into education. Bryan previously served as the Director of Operations for Success Academy Charter Schools. He has direct experience with collaborative, problem-solving education models along with a passion for service. He holds a Chairman position with Stem For Dance, a non-profit that provides young women of color exposure to STEM-based fields of study. Bryan holds a Master’s in Supply Chain Management from Rutgers University having received his undergraduate degree from Indiana University.


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