Shower curtains and police tape: how US schools are trying to reopen

As the US school reopening debate rages on, conflicting concerns around the safety of teachers, students and parents; the need for parents to get back to work; and children’s development is a lot to balance.

Those concerns, combined with the huge variation in how US states are dealing with Covid-19, means schools are facing some serious stumbling blocks along their way to reopening. Teachers have been posting photos online to show us what schools of the future are looking like. Here’s what we learned – but please share your concerns, experiences or projections about what your schools will look like in the comments.

No room to play for kindergarten students

One of the biggest worries about reopening schools has been how to keep students – particularly young children who love to run around, touching everyone and everything – socially distanced and safe. In one school in Florida, physically partitioning students will be the new normal.

Out with the old …

While many have complained about US schools being chronically underfunded, Covid-19 has put space constraints on classrooms, meaning that valuable equipment has to be torn out. In this Indiana school, that means saying goodbye to an entire lab.

Desperate times, desperate measures

Desperate times call for desperate measures: for this New York teacher, that means using a shower curtain as a protective covering for the class bookcase.

Out of sight but not out of mind

While school staff are having to be creative to keep everybody safe, they are also having to constantly readjust. In this Florida classroom, one teacher spoke about trying to find a way for her students to see the board when their desks are bracketed by black-framed dividers. “I LOVE teaching but this is not what teaching is supposed to be like,” she said.

Teachers buying their own supplies

Teachers have complained about having to buy their own supplies – sometimes even crowdfunding for personal protective equipment (PPE). In this case, a Miami teacher has resorted to buying her own hand soap.

Do not cross

Using police “do not cross” tape is certainly one way to go about designating appropriate space in a classroom

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