Home Features Safety first: how to refurbish your school during COVID-19

With the imminent reopening of schools, it’s important to set up your interiors so that they’re safe and practical. Finding the balance between the two will reduce the spread of COVID-19 and ensure students receive the best possible education.

With reference to WHO (World Health Organisation) and government guidelines we can guide you on the safest solutions while offering our expertise on school space design.

Ensure good ventilation
According to the UK Government website, coronavirus is spread through the air by droplets and smaller particles known as aerosols. When you’re indoors, these particles can remain suspended in the air for hours and build up over time.

To prevent this from happening, WHO advises that schools open windows to let out the bad air. If your classroom has fixed windows, another option is to improve ventilation through mechanical means.  A good HVAC system will extract the harmful air that would re-circulate without ventilation.

Improve toilet hygiene
Poor hygiene and ventilation in toilets also can lead to the spread of coronavirus with harmful particles which can float in the air when a toilet is flushed.  You can prevent particles from circulating by opening windows and implementing a ventilation system.

Configure classrooms correctly

Last summer, the government advised that pupils should learn with desks facing forward and spaced appropriately to reduce contact.

In addition to adapting the desk configuration, consider creating a teacher-only zone. This is off limits to students so that teachers can pass on their knowledge without the worry of contracting COVID-19.

Introduce a storage wall
If you haven’t got the appropriate storage solutions, consider introducing a storage wall. This won’t take up too much space on the classroom floor and can be fitted around an electric whiteboard, which also creates a natural focal point for forward-facing lessons.

Rethink your school furniture

When you bought your educational furniture, it’s unlikely you took into account if it was suitable for a global pandemic. Now, it may be the case that you’re in the market for something more appropriate.

  • Foldable desks — Ultra-flexible school furniture like lightweight folding desks with wheels.
  • Wheelable partitions — So you can create classroom “bubbles” and ensure other students know when an area is off limits.
  • Modular seating — Modular seating is easy to break apart and reconfigure. Introduce a modular sofa in the staffroom and it can be broken up into individual chairs to comply with social distancing rules.

Make the reception safe

When your school re-opens, the reception is likely to be extremely busy.  It’s essential that the area is fit for purpose.  Here are some things you can introduce:

  • Protective screens – Ensure the reception desk is set up with a protective screen. If your reception is a hatch, install glass and consider printing school badge manifestation.
  • Modular sofas — Introduce a modular sofa that can be broken up into single chairs for social distancing.
  • Sanitiser and posters — Add hand sanitiser at the point of entry and educate visitors with posters.

A school reception area is often a place where first impressions are made.  Therefore, making it safe will show that you are taking the necessary steps in reducing the spread of infection

Read RAP Interiors’ full blog on Safety First: How to Refurbish your School during COVID-19

For more advice and to book a free consultation, call 0333 600 1234 or email refurb@rapinteriors.co.uk.

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