The coronavirus pandemic has caused many public places to change their practices and search for alternatives to keep operations running—one of the largest groups affected by these changes is the public education system.
The continuation of classes has been a hot topic of debate. As many schools push to have in-person lessons but face barriers such as not having adequate classroom space to meet social distancing guidelines.
As a result, this has led to many schools seeking various alternatives, such as moving to remote learning on a virtual platform, blended learning, or other alternatives.
One of those alternatives is outdoor learning. Outdoor learning is a new method that some states are looking to adopt to keep face-to-face instruction while adhering to guidelines.
In a recent NBC article, unusual purchases made by Michigan and San Francisco schools towards this initiative garnered attention.
"The Detroit Waldorf School in Michigan is buying carriage bolts, berry bushes, and 8,000 square feet of cedarwood.
The San Francisco Unified School District has been busy gathering tree stumps."
These alternatives allow for distanced learning to occur still while maintaining in-person instruction.
If adopted by more states, it could be beneficial to parents who have to return to work and are unable to get childcare for virtual classes.
Although having its positive traits, some officials and parents have expressed concern for unpredictable weather scenarios that schools may not be able to prepare for promptly.
In the NBC article, the superintendent of Buckeye elementary school expressed her doubts about this temporary classroom.
"It's great to take advantage on a nice day, but you can't plan for that, speaking on a day last week when Phoenix's temperature reached 113 degrees Fahrenheit. The weather is too inconsistent."
Despite having its flaws, this alternate plan is one step towards finding a method that best adapts to student needs throughout this pandemic.