“Daddy, when does school start again?” ...
... one year ago, hardly any parent would have believed that we would ever hear such a sentence from our children.
Time off school used to mean holidays, fun and freedom. Everything has changed since COVID-19. For our children, for parents, for teachers, for the whole school life, the situation at home, playtimes and meetings with friends. Normal is a thing of the past. Our everyday life has changed. However, the longing for familiar normality persists. Especially among our children. Returning to school, sitting in the old place, next to George or Mia. Chatting and learning. Romping around and working silently. Primary school pupils in particular are having experiences that do not do justice to their age and needs.
Masked for school enrolment.
The first-year primary school pupils don’t know school life any differently. On the photos of their first day at school they are nicely dressed – and wearing a mask. In 30 years, at the class reunion, these children will have to guess who is hiding behind the white mask with the red dots. Olivia or Sophia? New meanings and new rules appear in school interaction and will leave a lasting mark on our children’s experiences and memories. Maybe even change behaviour and redefine social skills.
One, two, three, please come to me ...
Children need closeness. Especially when they come into a new environment, where they want and have to discover everything anew. Impossible under COVID-19 conditions. Distance is the order of the day. And learning spaces are clearly limited. Teachers can only communicate minimally with facial expressions and touch and face difficulties when it comes to helping pupils in making their first attempts at reading, writing and arithmetic.
New rules. Old schools.
Of course, spatial conditions do not change overnight, not even during a pandemic. Schools have to go according to the local conditions and try to do the right thing. Centimetre by centimetre, distances and passages have been calculated and documented. Across the country. In all schools, no matter what type. But we should not forget that we are dealing with children here. Rules have to be learned, then tried out and practised. This, too, is a process that takes time. Behaviour, especially that of children, does not change because invisible viruses cause risks in the classroom. Viruses cannot be seen or touched and are difficult to describe. For primary school children, this danger is not always present und thus does not always determine their behaviour.
From algebra to zoology.
Or in other words: our children are wearing masks from 8.00 a.m. to 2.00 p.m. and even longer. Masks protect, and this is reasonable. But they also change the way we see the world, communicate with others and, as recent studies confirm, they do not always help children to concentrate easily. There’s tugging and pushing, adjusting the fit. And in the cold season, some masks tend to get damp and uncomfortable inside due to breathing. Yes, masks are part of our safety concept. But they also change social interactions. Various state pupils’ representatives expressed understanding for making masks compulsory in class, but also addressed the issue that, from their own experience, “wearing masks in class goes hand in hand with concentration difficulties as well as communication problems”.
Put your hats on. We’re opening the windows.
It’s getting cold. In classrooms across the country. The recommendations are to ventilate every 20 minutes and also during every break. For this purpose, all windows should be opened wide, i.e. proper shock ventilation. Just tilting a window is not enough. The ideal way would be to cross ventilate, i.e. to create a draught. Meanwhile, politicians advise pupils: “Dress warmly. Or take thick jackets and jumpers to class.” The rules for ventilation are difficult to follow. Freezing is inevitable, just like runny noses, and the whole thing is just as bad for concentration as it is for the schools’ energy consumption.
Keep your distance. Wear masks. Reduce social contacts. And of course, ensure hygiene measures. These are rules not only children have to follow. But it is harder for children and young people than for older people who have gained more experience in life. British researchers and a study led by Prof. Wieland of the Department of Paediatrics at the University of Leipzig postulate a “general loss of quality of life in children and adolescents”. This effect correlates with the social position and income of the parents. What do such findings mean? It is not only about health, but also about the social and psychological consequences that a pandemic, like the coronavirus pandemic, can leave behind. We should all keep them in mind and try to keep them as low as possible.
As you can see. You don’t see anything.
Transparency and the aerosol protective edge on the partitions help restore a little more normality during the lessons. The partitions are equipped with an all-round protective edge preventing the rapid spread of aerosols. Even if a pupil can look into the maths exam of the person sitting next to them because they are so close, nothing can happen. The protective edge retains the aerosols and moist particles. This is how school works without a mask. And more important, how acts of humanity can return into everyday school life. A smile, an encouraging look, a stern expression … Signals we need for communicating, which are particularly important for children at school.
Minus 10 °C outside. Feel-good climate in the classroom.
Made possible by the high-performance air purifier TAC V+. The windows remain closed. The air is freed from aerosols more effectively than with open windows. There is no need for complicated shock and cross ventilation every 20 minutes, the energy consumption does not increase and the air is cleaned reliably and not depending on the outside and inside temperature. Moreover, the TAC V+ is very quiet, whereas open windows tend to let not only air but also street noise into the classroom. Many arguments in favours of the TAC V+. Efficiency, continuity, predictability, minimisation of energy costs, scientifically proven effectiveness in combating the risk of infection. And besides, no one has to be cold anymore. This way, maths is fun even in winter.
Walking around allowed.
But only with a mask. The third safety partner in Trotec’s school concept is the high-quality protective face mask. Whenever pupils or teachers are leaving the protected zone behind the transparent partitions with all-round aerosol edges, they need to put on a mask. And this is not where savings should be made. Instead, quality masks should be made available to schools. This is how teaching works with a maximum of normality and a minimum of rules.
Regular ventilation and CO2 traffic lights
In addition to permanent air purification, the people in the classroom are required to open the windows for shock ventilation from a CO2 value of 1000 ppm. If room air cleaners are used, this is not absolutely necessary for reducing the aerosol concentrations. However, it also helps to prevent high CO2 levels in the room air, which can affect our well-being and ability to concentrate. The CO2 content is monitored as required (depending on the number of people in the room) using the air quality monitor BQ30.
4 partners for the safety of our children.
Transparent partitions with an all-round aerosol protective edge.
Prevent the direct risk of infection from aerosol particles and make masks in the classroom largely superfluous
Room air cleaner TAC V+.
Effective and reliable minimisation of the indirect infection risk. Energetically sensible. Preventing classrooms from getting cold.
As soon as the protected zones are left, on the way to the break or when changing rooms, the face mask provides safety.
CO2 traffic lights.
When does the room have to be aired again? Air quality monitors indicate when the CO2 content, fine dust and aerosol particle concentrations in the room air are too high.
Here you can find scientifically tested protection concepts for schools and educational facilities:
All information in the “Guide to safe school teaching”
In the “Guide to safe school teaching”, available as a PDF, you can see for yourself how comparatively easy it is to implement a safe hygiene concept for schools. The guide contains how-to information for implementing the hygiene concept for schools recommended by Prof. Christian Kähler, scientifically proven facts on the risks of infection in a classroom, and technical solutions to reduce the risk of infection during the lessons to a minimum. You can download the PDF here:
Functional principle of the acrylic glass shield with an all-round aerosol protective edge
The all-round aerosol protective edge of the acrylic glass shield from Trotec ensures that the aerosol particle stream swirls around the edge. As a result, the aerosol particles remain in the area of the infected person for a longer time and mix with the air before they are diluted and separated by the room air cleaner. When aerosol particles hit a protective screen that is NOT equipped with a protective edge, the particles will flow unhindered over the edge of the screen. This allows the potentially infectious aerosol particles to spread to the next row of tables.