On July 7th, Gavin Williamson, the Education Secretary announced that all schools and colleges will reopen in September. As COVID-19 infection rates are dropping, some of the current restrictions that prevent people from gathering indoors will be lifted to allow nurseries, schools, and colleges to open their gates.
However, a series of new safety measures will be introduced. School children will have to follow strict behavior regimes, their classes will be arranged into ‘bubbles’ (groups of 15 pupils) to prevent the virus spread, and assemblies and choirs will be banned. Additionally, children will be advised to keep their distance from each other, to avoid sharing items, and to wash their hands regularly.
To prevent outbreaks, the layout of the classrooms will have to be adapted, the windows will be kept open where and when possible and inessential furniture will be removed to allow a two-meter distance between pupils.
School canteens will reopen, but the furniture will be disinfected after each use. As mentioned above, the students will only spend time with their bubble-colleagues and will avoid interacting with anyone else. These bubbles will start school at different times and will learn in separate classes.
As mentioned above, students will be arranged into groups of 15 members maximum. This automatically means that all educational institutions will need to double the number of classes/class size and the number of teachers. Furthermore, the schools will have to find effective solutions to prevent pupils from bumping into each other when they enter and exit the buildings.
To lower the building density, students will be split into different classes and grades across multiple locations. Some schools might choose to move half of their students and teachers to other locations such as public libraries and community centers, but this might not be a viable long-term solution.
The good news is some kindergartens and schools have already found a great solution that can take some of the pressure off and help them avoid overcrowding – log cabins. Looking at the square feet to cost ratio, log cabin classrooms are much more economic than building a school extension or adding another floor.
They are also eco-friendly. Log cabins are made from wood – a renewable and sustainable building material. They have a very small carbon footprint and believe it or not, timber is a great insulator. So using these structures all-year-round won’t be an issue.
Compared to buildings made from bricks, concrete, and stone, log cabins/wooden houses are more affordable, take less time to build, and can become available to use in just a few days after the installation. They are versatile, can be adapted to any environment, and they come in a wide range of sizes starting from 25 m2 and up to 100 m2. The existing models can be customized based on the client’s needs, for instance, a lot of private schools chose the Large Garden Snooker Room because it had the ideal size and could easily be used as a classroom. New problems require new solutions and log cabins might be it.