The Classroom Re-Imagined and Re-Designed: The Pandemic-Ready Teaching and Learning Station

Daizal R. Samad, Ashwannie Harripersaud


Save for the most callous among us, all of humanity knows the chaos wreaked upon the world by the Covid 19 Virus. The losses are of unspeakable proportions. Those losses continue. Among those losses is lost educational opportunity for our children and young adults. The debate among world experts continues unabated: when should we re-open schools? At what levels? Under what conditions? What are the potential perils? How do we assess the effects of viral mutations and variants? There is so much that we have yet to learn that, at best, we are making educated guesses; at worst, we yield to denial and despair.
This paper charts the efforts made by various countries to deal with the impact of education on schools, colleges and universities. Given the vast differences in resources; the availability of medical and other expertise; innovativeness; and political will and the humility of political leadership to follow the advice of scientists, the responses have been markedly different. Not unusually, the poorer the country, the greater is the suffering. In this paper, we use Guyana as representative of nations bereft of those things we have just mentioned.
However, even in nations that are blessed with the wherewithal for managing and minimizing the impact of this deadly pandemic, education has suffered. In poor countries, this damage may be almost irreparable for decades to come. The overall international quest has been to find a way to re-open educational institutions safely. Outside schooling, social distancing, hand-washing, and the wearing of masks have been vital ameliorating tools. Some places have used plexiglass to separate students and prevent the exhalation and inhalation of droplets. Other countries have simply followed uncritically what richer and more resourceful countries have done. Many countries have simply denied the fact of the pandemic or have simply guessed their way along. Denial and guess-work have lead to catastrophic results.
In this paper, we have attempted a solution that involves the re-imagining and re-designing of the traditional classroom space into being a Teaching and Learning Station. This innovation, in our opinion, almost guarantees the safe re-opening of schools. It ensures the safe return to in-person teaching and learning, and it prepares us for inevitable future pandemics. We have offered up the design with the hope that it may be taken up and acted upon.

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Copyright (c) 2021 Daizal R. Samad, Ashwannie Harripersaud

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International Journal of Higher Education
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