We taught school outdoors in the past. Could we do it again?

The question of whether or not to send children back to classrooms this fall in the US looms large, and a growing number of parents are calling for kids to go back to school but not be back in school. Thousands of people have signed a petition for an open streets initiative to facilitate outdoor learning. 

The move would create outdoor learning spaces for New York City’s 1.1 million public school students. It would require tents, water fountains, and other outdoor equipment, but fortunately, there is a precedent for this shift. The outdoor school was done before during the 20th century in an effort to control tuberculosis outbreaks in American cities.

For the most part, outdoor schools were a success. Although the winter months required wrapping children in large blankets, no kids got sick in one experiment led by two Rhode Island doctors

In New York City, the Horace Mann School built two open-air spaces on the rooftop to reap the health benefits of fresh air and sunshine. The success of outdoor schools continued until the mid-1900s when they were slowly phased out. 

Experts still recommend social distancing and masks even when outside, but the benefits of outdoor learning include a lower risk of virus transmission. As we noted in our article last week, outdoor events where these precautions are practiced, such as the BLM protests, have not been associated with virus hot spots. 

Mayor Bill de Blasio is currently planning on offering a blended learning plan in the fall with some in-person classes and some online meetings. He has noted that he is looking for the potential expansion of learning spaces to facilitate more in-person learning. Whether these additional spaces will include the great outdoors is yet to be seen.

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We taught school outdoors in the past. Could we do it again?

The question of whether or not to send children back to classrooms this fall in the US looms large, and a growing number of parents are calling for kids to go back to school but not be back in school. Thousands of people have signed a petition for an open streets initiative to facilitate outdoor learning. 

The move would create outdoor learning spaces for New York City’s 1.1 million public school students. It would require tents, water fountains, and other outdoor equipment, but fortunately, there is a precedent for this shift. The outdoor school was done before during the 20th century in an effort to control tuberculosis outbreaks in American cities.

For the most part, outdoor schools were a success. Although the winter months required wrapping children in large blankets, no kids got sick in one experiment led by two Rhode Island doctors

In New York City, the Horace Mann School built two open-air spaces on the rooftop to reap the health benefits of fresh air and sunshine. The success of outdoor schools continued until the mid-1900s when they were slowly phased out. 

Experts still recommend social distancing and masks even when outside, but the benefits of outdoor learning include a lower risk of virus transmission. As we noted in our article last week, outdoor events where these precautions are practiced, such as the BLM protests, have not been associated with virus hot spots. 

Mayor Bill de Blasio is currently planning on offering a blended learning plan in the fall with some in-person classes and some online meetings. He has noted that he is looking for the potential expansion of learning spaces to facilitate more in-person learning. Whether these additional spaces will include the great outdoors is yet to be seen.

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