Editor's Note

A New Back-to-School Experience

As a nerdy kid, my absolute favorite part of the year growing up was back-to-school season. I couldn’t wait to receive my school supplies list and go shopping for new gel pens, highlighters, and notebooks. I loved it more than Christmas! I looked forward to meeting new teachers and new classmates and getting to learn so many new things.

As the 2020-2021 academic year begins soon, students, teachers, and staff alike are gearing up for an entirely new back-to-school experience. With coronavirus rates still increasing across the United States, schools and universities are rethinking educational environments in order to keep occupancy low and properly social distance.

Some school districts will be implementing a hybrid learning model where half of the student population attends in-person classes on certain days of the week while the rest learn online and then students switch. Some school districts will be taking an online-only approach for a portion or all of the first semester, while others are planning for a full return to the classroom with PPE in the fall.

This school year will require district leaders to be agile and flexible and push themselves to problem solve like never before. In this issue of Spaces4Learning, we have an insightful guide to rethinking school spaces and structures to help with the process. On our website under the “COVID-19” tab, you can find all our coverage of the pandemic and its impact on schools, colleges and universities. Online articles include how to incorporate signage for social distancing purposes and how school nurses are critical to the pandemic. Spaces4Learning will continue to cover how schools and colleges are tackling the coronavirus, along with other design, planning and management needs.

The weeks ahead will prove challenging but also provide a chance to try something new, to rethink what we thought was working and to forge a new plan for the sake of our school communities.

This article originally appeared in the July/August 2020 issue of Spaces4Learning.

About the Author

Yvonne Marquez is senior editor of Spaces4Learning. She can be reached at [email protected].