Former Director of the University of Guyana’s Berbice campus, Professor Daizal Samad and fellow educator Ashwannie Harripersaud have developed an innovative concept that will allow teachers and students to physically and safely assemble in a classroom amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.
The concept envisions a modified seating arrangement, whereby there will be a cubicle in the center and four rows of seating on each sides, creating an “x” shape.
The cubicle will be sealed off with plexiglass while the rows of seating will also be separated with the plexiglass.
It is envisioned that the teacher will occupy the cubicle while students will seat in the rows.
“This is to prevent the transfer of any droplets from student to student, or student to teacher. Likewise, the teacher’s portal is surrounded by plexiglass to a height of between 4 and 5 feet,” Harripersaud explained.
The setup also allows for the provision of monitors and individual microphones so the teacher and student can easily interact during learning sessions.
With majority of schools in the country closed since March 2020 due to the pandemic, many institutions have opted to conduct virtual classes.
Only a few months ago, the government reopened schools for some classes of students.
But Samad believes it is time those in authority start looking at long-term solutions for a new normal amid the pandemic.
“How do we teach; we can’t teach the same old thing in the same old way. We have online but we know that online cannot replace in-person teaching,” he said.
The estimated cost to convert one classroom into this proposed solution is $1M. (Andrew Carmichael)