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Designing outdoor classroooms for a cause

October 15, 2020 -  By
Outdoor classroom (Photo: Lincoln Beddoe / iStock / Getty Images Plus)

Green Schoolyards America has created a national COVID-19 Outdoor Learning Initiative by using outdoor school spaces and parks to help schools around the country reopen safely and in a cost-effective way, according to CEO and founder Sharon Danks.

The organization is calling on landscape architects to help design the outdoor learning spaces. The pro bono landscape design assistance program is called the COVID-19 Emergency Schoolyard Design Volunteers. Danks noted that hundreds have signed up to offer their support.

“Schools weren’t built with ventilation systems set up to filter the virus during the pandemic,” Danks said. “Outside, you have more space and fresher air. There have been problems with online learning in the spring, where large percentages of kids from around the country never turned on their computer once, which resulted in catastrophic learning losses and also some mental health issues.”

Landscape architects interested in assisting can contact their local pre-K–12 schools and districts in high-need neighborhoods to let them know about this initiative and help schools design and diagram outdoor classroom plans by visiting here.

Sarah Webb

About the Author:

Sarah Webb is Landscape Management's managing editor. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Wittenberg University, where she studied journalism and Spanish. Prior to her role at LM, Sarah was an intern for Cleveland Magazine and a writing tutor. She can be reached at swebb@northcoastmedia.net.

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