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2020 School Reopening Planning – A Case Study

Measures to reduce spread of infection and their prioritization by age group

Leveraging our expertise in school planning to help our community through the unprecedented challenge of reopening amid a global pandemic, the team at MBB Architects conducted an in-depth reopening analysis of an independent school in Manhattan. Doing a case study of a specific school allowed us to take abstract guidelines and develop them into concrete solutions that served as a valuable resource to other schools planning their reopening. The work was done pro bono and the results were shared with over 150 schools, including international schools from over thirty countries who participated in our webinar hosted by International School Services.

The study walks hypothetical students through each step of a typical day anticipating every opportunity to reduce exposure to infection. We took a mission-centered approach, identifying achievable solutions that reflect the school’s priorities. We examined space use, operations, equipment and protocols to develop a comprehensive reopening plan for the school, adapted to address the needs of students at each age level, families, teachers and staff.

We worked in close collaboration with the head of school, and were assisted by Derive Engineers, consulting epidemiologist Dr. Krystina Woods, our network of colleagues and an extensive list of resources that are linked in the report.

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Strategy for moving students through the building

Typical classroom layout strategy

Classroom layout approach by age