The Trump administration, U.S. Center for Disease Control, and American Academy of Pediatrics are encouraging schools to hold classes and other activities outside whenever possible to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 when schools reopen this Fall.
“There are measures we can put into place to make sure that we don’t see the spread of a virus or outbreaks in individual schools by having children learn in a single classroom or learn outside as often as possible and not go into larger settings,” Vice President Mike Pence said during a press conference on July 8. “And this is all the kind of guidance that the CDC is putting forward.”
The push for outdoor classrooms comes after Denmark successfully implemented outdoor classrooms in the Spring, FOX News reported. Denmark also made use of playgrounds, public parks, and went so far as to convert a soccer stadium into an outside classroom.
In the U.S., restaurants have pushed tables outside to increase space for social distancing and increased ventilation at the urging of state and local governments which has raised the question, why not do the same for outside classrooms?
“We’ve always been clear that outside gatherings are safer than inside gatherings,” White House Coronavirus Task Force Coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx told Newsy.
The University of Florida announced in its reopening plan that the university will pursue a mix of increased online coursework and hold some classes outside.
The New York Times Editorial Board, which rarely agrees with the Trump administration, is also urging officials to think outside the school building.
“Some fall classes could be held in the open air, or under tents with no walls — spaces in which the available evidence suggests transmission risks also are much lower.”