Before-and-after photos show how the pandemic has changed classroom setups

Cydni built plastic shields for her classroom this year. @cydni_erin/Instagram
  • Classrooms look drastically different this year as teachers prepare for in-person classes during the pandemic.
  • While some teachers have spaced desks apart, others have added shields to their tables.
  • Scientists are unsure if these measures will be enough to prevent students and teachers from contracting the virus.
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Over the summer, school leaders, government officials, teachers, and parents engaged in a debate on whether students should be physically back in a classroom this school year.

Many schools have decided the answer is yes.

As schools across the country reopen, many are implementing guidelines designed to lower the risk of spreading and contracting the coronavirus. The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention has issued recommended guidelines for reopening schools, which includes the use of face masks, social distancing, and regularly washing hands.

Scientists and researchers are unsure whether these measures will be enough to prevent the spread of the virus indoors, but many teachers don’t have the option of staying home.

Instead, they have redesigned their classrooms and plan to welcome students back with a smile, even if it’s hidden underneath a mask. Take a look inside seven teachers’ classrooms.

Kim Wallace, a pre-K teacher in Alabama, is going into her ninth year of teaching. Before, her class would share tables and sit on the floor for reading time.

Students used to sit on the floor and read with Wallace. @coffeeandprek/Instagram

Wallace said she had to remove all soft items, like rugs and pillows, from her classroom. In addition to the desk dividers, her students will have face shields and be required to wear masks.

Each desk now has plexiglass shields. @coffeeandprek/Instagram

Angela Robbins is a high school French and theatre teacher in Cumberland County, Tennessee. Last year, her classroom featured group desks.

A picture from Angela Robbins’ desk. @bittypdx/Twitter

Robbins built her own desk shields using clothing racks and shower curtains.

Former students also helped Robbins get all the supplies she needed for the year. @bittypdx/Twitter

Ansley Humble is a kindergarten teacher in Monroe, Louisiana. Last year, she taught first grade, where the students sat in groups at desks.

Humble has previously taught first-grade students. @mrshumblebee/Instagram

This year, she has tables with plexiglass dividers.

Humble filled her classroom with bright colours to create a cheerful atmosphere. @mrshumblebee/Instagram

Cydni Banner, a high school English teacher in Midland, Texas, had to completely reorganise her classroom for the anticipated in-person school year.

Banner said she removed things like comfy, soft chairs. @cydni_erin/Instagram

She added dividers to each of her classroom’s tables. However, her district decided to move the first four weeks of the year online, so the dividers will be there when students come back for in-person classes.

Banner built the shields herself. @cydni_erin/Instagram

Felicia Morgan’s elementary school students in El Lago, Texas, could previously roam the classroom and interact with fellow classmates.

A group of students building. @f_morgan13/Instagram

Now, Morgan’s students will spend more time at their desks, which are equipped with plastic shields.

Morgan built the shields for the desks. @f_morgan13/Instagram

Becki Maly, a first-grade teacher, previously had her desks in groups that allowed her students to interact freely.

This year, Maly will be teaching students in person and virtually. @teaching_with_firsties/Instagram

Now, movement is more restricted and desks are spaced out as much as possible.

Maly had to remove furniture and other items from her classroom to allow for social distancing. @teaching_with_firsties/Instagram

Mellyn, a first-grade teacher in Chattanooga, Tennessee, is gearing up for her first year of teaching.

Mellyn is preparing for her first year of teaching. @teachingwithmellyn/Instagram

Each desk in her classroom has a shield to help separate her students.

Mellyn said she’s still getting used to the classroom setup. @teachingwithmellyn/Instagram