A year into the Covid-19 pandemic, the medical science community is surer than ever that the safest place to gather with other people is outdoors, The Washington Post reported last week. This understanding should be shaping life in public schools by now, but mostly isn’t.
Schools are going to heroic lengths to resume in-person instruction, with social distancing built into classroom occupancy planning, contact tracing protocols, diligent surface scrubbing and face covering requirements. Still, they’re mostly missing the forest for the trees, failing to even consider the safest way to move away from computer-based instruction – holding classes outside when possible.
We at the Vegetable Project called for such use of the great outdoors before we ever knew the word coronavirus. And we expect to be encouraging it long after the last vaccine is administered. Contact with nature contributes mightily to the emotional and physical heath that our students and educators need to perform well.
It’s just more urgent now than ever before.