Non-traditional classroom furniture plays role in back-to-school discussion

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Governor Inslee has stated in recent weeks, including in his inauguration speech, that his goal is to get children safely back to classrooms across Washington. Although face masks and hand sanitizer will certainly play a key role, classroom furniture may play another important role.

Currently, the school district, architects and other designers are working together to develop strategies to plan how to arrange classrooms to ensure maximum social distance between students and teachers. Classroom furniture is a key part of the discussion.

Stacy Crumbaker, deputy principal of Mahlum Architects in Seattle, said: “When the school is considering reopening, they are considering furniture as a key component.” Stacy Crumbaker is working with the school district on this issue. "They are taking inventory,'What do I have available and how can I use it in a way that supports students in entering the classroom and doing it safely?'"

The analyzed furniture includes tables and chairs. Students and teachers can easily move them throughout the day to meet the needs of social isolation. Klubeck said that the traditionally lined up heavy, rigid tables and chairs (she called "continuous soldiers") cannot move efficiently.

A classroom furniture company thinks it can help you.

Furniture can be found in many local school districts, including Issaquah, Puyallup, Mercer Island, Federal Avenue, Mukilteo, Northshore, Kit Sap (Central Kitsap), Edmonds (Edmonds) and Stanwood-Camano (Stanwood-Camano).

Ian Sawers, manager of VS Pacific Northwest, said their furniture is light and flexible and can be moved and even changed many times a day.

The height of the table and chair can be changed to be flush with the ground or as high as the stool. Other works provide space for students to study individually rather than in groups.

"You will see that the wheels or shapes on our furniture can form shapes intuitively-rarely read corners and divide the space so you can divide the classroom." Sawers said.

Crumbaker said that these new, non-traditional designs produce a smaller "footprint" than a fixed large desk, thereby providing more free space when moving around the room.

She said: "Furniture is not the same." "You can easily move and rearrange it-change the room from a 10-person room to a 6-person room, and then change it to a 16-person room."

VS developed furniture before the pandemic to encourage children to incorporate physical movement and comfort during class. Research shows that this helps students learn better. But now, it becomes especially important because the school plans how to keep the children apart when they return to the classroom.

"This kind of furniture can be easily moved and adapted, so it can safely support learning in the COVID world," Sawers said.

However, he pointed out that any type of furniture, even furniture that is flexible and creates new opportunities for alienation, cannot guarantee that a school will not be affected by COVID. Saviles said that the decision to resume in-person learning is a decision that each region must make based on its own needs, statistics and capabilities.

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