How Architects Help Ensure the Safe Reopening America’s Schools and Businesses

Posted August 5, 2020 | Tags: Reopening Schools and Businesses

Architects are not immune from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. As the world is dealing with a crisis of extraordinary magnitude, architects are busy doing what they do best: planning and designing the spaces where we live, learn, and work.

The American Institute of Architecture (AIA) has been working with public, environmental, and occupational health experts and physicians to organize and publish guidelines that help America prepared for reopening schools, businesses, and public places.

Here are two significant ways architects are helping Americans prepare for the return to school, work, and business in the new normal.

Comprehensive Risk Management Planning

Architects have developed tools and processes that allow them to construct comprehensive risk management plans for schools and public spaces. The risk management plan is multi-faceted, covering not only the risks associated with viruses like COVID-19 but also strategies for structure issues and natural disasters (like tornadoes).

The Risk Management Plan can help architects analyze and communicate the goals of the plan, the past and future use of the building, and the risks and hazards of potential use. This plan would include consideration for partial, phased, and full use as well as the identification of low and high-risk areas of use.

Plans for Re-occupancy of Schools

School reopening has become a highly discussed topic in the last few months. There is little doubt about the magnitude of this discussion. According to AIA,  primary and secondary schools in the United States supported nearly 56.5 million students while employing 3.7 million teachers. During the pandemic (2020), over 130,000 primary and secondary school buildings in the US were closed.

Architects, along with experts in medicine and safety, are playing a role in the plans to open schools. These plans include mitigation strategies and guidelines for schools and campuses.

Their analysis includes capacity, queue and movement, classroom configuration, administrative offices, lunchroom, common areas, systems like water and HVAC, and other areas of schools.

Creating plans for virus spreading mitigation will help schools, government, and medical officials better decide when and how to reopen schools.

Similar re-occupancy plans are also constructed for commercial and public buildings as more of the country thinks about and realizes that COVID-19 risk mitigation is a fact of everyday life.

Do you want to discuss your schools’ or businesses’ risk and mitigation plans? Let’s set an appointment to discuss what can be done.

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