September 8, 2020

Re-occupancy: Back-to-School, Back-to-Work

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Many of us prepared for our children and loved ones to return to school this year; however, preparation looked a lot different from it did in the years passed. Depending on where you are located – that may have meant setting up a new virtual environment for your children and/or an in-home office to teach. For others, it meant sending your children back to the in-person classroom with extra hand sanitizer and a new wardrobe equipped with the most stylish masks. In either situation – many of us wonder, “Is this the best environment for our next generation? Is it the safest? Will this impact the students long-term? Does this set us up for risks we haven’t yet considered? Is there a chance this decision will be revisited in a month or two, or even less?”

With Labor Day behind us, several companies are striving to reoccupy the office as well. For those of us who have finally figured out how to juggle the Zoom calls while parenting/schooling our kids, returning to the office is fraught with a different set of questions: “Who will stay home with my children while I go to work? Are they going to be able to keep up with the virtual requirements? If I get long-term in-home care, what happens if the office closes back down? If I return to work, am I increasing the risk of exposing my loved ones toCOVID-19?”

A few also have the added benefit of being the owner/operator of schools and offices. As we juggle the questions above, we also contemplate, “Have we taken all the necessary precautions and enlisted the right policies/procedures for re-occupancy? Are we following all of the latest regulations, and are we up to code on all requirements? Have we trained our staff adequately and put the right measures in place to ensure everyone’s safety? Will our near-term plans result in substantial changes to our long-term plan?”

As we continue to navigate the uncertainty ourselves and help our clients with their schools and offices, we have joined forces with other industry experts and associations for re-occupancy guidance. Take a look at some of the industry's guides: 

AIA | Reopening America: Strategies for Safe School

The American Institute ofArchitects (AIA) created an informative guide for reoccupying K-12 schools with thoughtful considerations and strategies for healthy, conducive learning environments.

AIA | Reopening America: Strategies for Safer Offices

The American Institute ofArchitects (AIA) offers design and operations guidance/strategies for operators and tenants to reoccupy their office spaces.  

ASHRAE | Reopening of Schools & Universities 

ASHRAE offers technical guidance on key considerations and strategies for facility operations and HVAC systems.

ASHRAE | Building Readiness 

ASHRAE takes a look at the key considerations and checklists needed to reoccupy offices, schools, healthcare facilities, and other commercial buildings to ensure readiness for occupants.

In addition to the resources provided above, we will provide “lessons learned” from our own experiences in future posts. If you have any questions or need help with reoccupying your education or office space, get in touch.