Friday, August 14, 2020

Reopening School During Coronavirus Means Sneeze Guards on Desks and Digital Thermometers at the Door

In Quincy, Ill., an elementary school redesigns for the pandemic; ‘Things are moving so fast, I’d say its 50-50 if we even open in two weeks’. 

 As back-to-school season approaches, districts across the country are grappling with concerns over student and teacher safety. In Quincy, Ill., public schools are using a popular hybrid model to reopen. WSJ’s Doug Belkin visited the school days before students are set to arrive.

By Douglas Belkin

QUINCY, Ill.—The new Denman Elementary school opened up last year with state-of-the-art security that aimed to prevent mass shootings and broad communal spaces to encourage close collaboration.

Now school administrators fear the coronavirus has rendered much of that design obsolete.

As tens of millions of students across the country return to schools this month for the first time since March, teachers and principals are scrambling to jury-rig their classrooms, hallways and schedules to keep students physically distanced inside of buildings created to bring them together.

Secure entryways installed at Denman Elementary before the pandemic were meant to keep students safe from intruders outside the school. Now they are being retrofitted with digital thermometers to protect them from a virus some students may be carrying inside their own bodies.  Read more >>