May 22, 2020

How St. Louis Schools Can Evolve for The Fall

Our Trevor Calarco recently connected with the St. Louis Business Journal to share ideas on how design can help colleges and K12 schools reopen this fall.

As the piece indicates, “many St. Louis colleges are announcing plans for on-campus instruction” and K12 institutions are also planning to reopen. If this all happens, the duo shared that in-person education will look different.

The full STL Business Journal article is live online. Here are key excerpts:

At Both K12 and Higher Ed

Fewer students per classroom

Calarco said students in classrooms or lecture halls will be spaced at least six feet apart to reduce chances of Covid-19 transmission. To accommodate everyone, classrooms will likely use a hybrid distance and in-person learning model. For example, half of a class might listen to a lecture on site, while the other half would watch a live stream from their homes. Some schools might implement a staggered system of students alternating between in-person and online learning.


Renovated rec centers

Even if college gyms and rec centers distance their equipment six feet apart, Calarco said the prospect of a big exercise facility with hundreds of students inside might become unappealing. Colleges may decentralize by introducing multiple smaller exercise facilities around campus, such as inside residence halls.

Isolation floors

Speaking of residence halls, Calarco said that while it might be optimal to make every dorm room single-occupancy, that’s not feasible due to space and money constraints. Instead, residence halls may designate “isolation floors” for people who have or are suspected of having Covid-19.

Block courses

Like K-12 schools, Calarco said, colleges are “trying to minimize the number of rooms and events that the cohort goes to.” Historically, the typical college class meets two to three times a week for an entire semester. A student with five classes a week would visit five different classrooms multiple times each week. To cut down that movement, colleges are considering creating “course blocks,” in which students would take a three- to three-and-a-half-week class for three hours every day, then move on to the next course.

Learn more about what Returning To Campus could look like this fall >