The development of the high school facility at Rusų g. 5 started four years ago. With all the thinking invested in realizing the project, no one could have predicted the onset of a global pandemic. It is unfortunate that aspects of our vision will not play out immediately due to current health restrictions. However, if we are to practice what we preach, then we must view these challenges as opportunities to be inventive.
VIS continues to take pride in being an agile organization, and as such, we have already identified a number of unexpected advantages to the new school design that support our ability to provide a high-quality educational experience in line with COVID-era restrictions.
The digital booking system originally meant to allow teachers (and students) to book specific spaces relevant to the type of learning planned for the day now allows us to visually indicate which rooms will be assigned to specific groups of students—and, unintentionally, when the rooms are free for cleaning and ventilation.
The three dining nooks that make up the café area, originally designed to promote a feeling of coziness and community, enable us to assign specific groups of students (determined by classes) to one of three designated areas in the cafe to in order to minimize mixing between students.
Additionally, the glass walls designed to expose classrooms to natural light provide an unintentional opportunity to supervise students who may find themselves in a classroom with their teacher on a projector, communicating with them from a remote location. This is a real possibility if staff members with mild respiratory symptoms or in certain risk groups are required to work from home.
While our proven ability to be flexible will be invaluable in the days and weeks ahead, it’s important to remember what the thought, vision, and intention was behind our new facility.