Adapting Your Classroom to Social Distancing
New Restrictions and Classroom Seating Arrangements
The COVID-19 pandemic effectively put our nation (and most of the world) at a standstill. As schools, libraries, and colleges plan to reopen, it is important to think about the seating arrangements in shared spaces.
With added social distancing restrictions, discussions in classroom spaces could become more difficult. Let’s explore a variety of seating arrangements that could help keep the conversation flowing, even from a distance.
Which style of seating arrangements help facilitate discussion?
To begin, let’s look at the typical “row arrangement” (where desks and chairs are arranged in a straight line). This style mixed with social distancing likely will not help conversation in classrooms. With rows and desks needing to be separated, this will push students away from each other, and they will not be looking at other students’ faces while speaking – rather the backs of their peers’ heads.
Another popular desk arrangement is the “cluster style”. This is when desks are put in groups of 3-6. In normal times, this style allows for great small group conversations. However, with social distancing recommendations, this style is no longer appropriate.
A safer seating arrangement is known as the horseshoe or double horseshoe style. This is when the desks and chairs are arranged in the shape of a large C, or two large Cs. This arrangement can provide a safe distance between each student. Plus, students can easily look at each other while engaged in classroom conversation.
Another seating arrangement style that could be adaptable for social distancing is stadium seating. This style gives students the feeling of being in groups, while still having the desks spread apart. Having a row discuss things together would help to facilitate both small and larger group discussions.
An important factor to consider with classroom social distancing and seating arrangement is classroom mobility. In the past, having students take a stack of paper and pass it around the classroom was not an issue. However, this is likely no longer a good idea as it means many students will be touching the same papers. Because of this, having space that allows teachers to easily move around the classroom to pass out paper assignments becomes more important.
It is also going to be important that all students are able to remain socially distant when entering and exiting the classroom. You will need to plan accordingly depending on the size and shape of your particular classroom.
We also know it is important to keep ADA Guidelines in mind as we plan for new classroom set ups. The Guidelines are as follows:
“The ADA states that at least 5 percent of classroom tables must be wheelchair-accessible. Tables must be between 28 and 34 inches high with at least 24 inches of knee clearance to accommodate students in wheelchairs. Adjustable tables are recommended, but not required, to better accommodate students.”
Changing of Assignments
Many teachers were forced to transition to online learning in 2020, and may have to go back to virtual learning at some point again. Now that teachers know they can teach most of their subjects in a virtual way, they can plan to use less paper overall when they plan for assignments. Less printing costs means the school saves money, and less paper used is a win for our environment.
We Can Help
The fall of 2020 will no doubt be a game of trial and error when it comes to classroom adjustments. Because of this, chairs and desks will likely be moved more often than in the past. This means that having durable, cleanable chairs is extremely important.
Our hardwood chairs are incredibly strong and easy to clean. This will be very important for seating in the coming school years. Each of our hardwood stacking chairs comes with an unbeatable 20-year warranty.
Contact us today to discuss your chair, chair transporter, and table needs.