Outcomes from COVID-19 Conversations with K12 Educational Planners in the Mid-Atlantic

Masthead CMI Classroom 5 non professional Larger
Strategies for Controlling COVID-19 Spread in K-12 Environments

The school districts we serve in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions have each developed their interpretation and application of the CDC and other guidelines for handling the COVID-19 Pandemic. This means that many different approaches are being tested and data collected on what is working and what isn’t. A lack of information sharing across school districts was among the obstacles local education authorities we service reported they were confronting in the Fall.

We started this study by compiling information from the CDC and industry sources into a handout called Strategies for Controlling COVID-19 Spread in K-12 Environments and disseminated the knowledge to our clients and contacts in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic. We then reached out to our clients or contacts in the K12 Mid-Atlantic Region to survey their Biggest Issues, What Has Worked, Questions That Have Been Raised Due To COVID-19, and Design Strategies Educators Want For The Future. After doing qualitative analysis, we found several consistent main themes appear throughout the region. These themes are:


Biggest issues

  • Size of classrooms - some too big, too small, too structured (typically with a lack of flexibility)
  • Technology integration for students and teachers
  • Keeping up with changing protocols
  • Lack of isolation space if someone does get sick

What has worked

  • Mask wearing, hand sanitizer, and social distancing based off signs posted
  • Running the Mechanical Systems/fans 24/7 or flushing out the building at the beginning and end of each day
  • Analyzing each building and addressing the mechanical system needs at each location rather than using one strategy for all buildings across the district
  • Using multiple entry points and circulation signs/markers
  • one to one devices for all students and creating connectivity for those who do not have it

Questions raised due to COVID-19

  • Does learning have to take place under one roof or can the school become more of a resource like a library and learning can take place out in the community?
  • What does a flexible learning environment look like? - size, furniture, number of people, number of days "in person"
  • What is actually needed/wanted in a classroom? - especially now with the need for more technology integration

Design strategies educators want for the future

  • Flexible classrooms with multiple learning stations
  • Comfortable learning environments - comfortable and a variety of furniture types
  • Variety of classroom sizes
  • Large spaces to be able to easily be divided and utilized for smaller activities
  • Places for students and teachers to interact less formally
  • Larger library media space to be a center for learning and technology
  • Integrating operable windows in designs
Inset images Flexible Seating Social Distancing Creative Minds Internatio
Inset image Flexible Seating No Social Distancing Creative Minds Interna

The counties we surveyed in the Mid-Atlantic

  • Prince George's County Public Schools
  • Frederick County Public Schools
  • Charles County Public Schools
  • Harford County Public Schools
  • Creative Minds International
  • Harrisonburg City Schools
  • Shenandoah County Public Schools
  • Capital City Charter School
  • Yeshiva of Greater Washington

Position of participants

  • Department or Director of Capital Program
  • Director of School Safety and Security
  • Supervisor of Facilities Management
  • Director of Operations and Compliance
  • Principal
  • Assistant Superintendent of Admin. Services and Strategic Planning
  • Assistant Superintendent of Teaching, Learning, and Innovation
  • Head of School
  • Chief Operating Officer
  • Executive Director


Qualitative Analysis

  • Compiled and disseminated information from CDC and industry standards
  • Interviewed and surveyed clients and contacts
  • Analyzed responses and identified trends
  • Distributed results to participants and the general public


  • "COVID has amplified issues in our education system that we were aware of, but did not have the funding/time to change. But now these issues have been brought to the forefront, because they inhibit students ability to learn in remote environments continuing to force us to ask the question When students coming back, what kind of environment will they need? And do we have it and/or can we provide it?"
  • "Creating access center for the students who need the support has been one of the most effective ways to help students – whether it is needed as a safe environment, or help with content - creating a space in the school or the community that students can go to still learn."
  • "Having flexible furniture not only is great for the students and their learning but it has been a lifesaver to be able to easily adapt learning spaces to fit COVID-19 protocols"