SAVANNAH, GA—In an effort to make virtual learning readily accessible to every child in kindergarten through 12th grade, the Savannah-Chatham County Public School System announced plans Wednesday to require all students to attend online classes in one massive, open-concept computer lab.
“We’re happy to provide our approximately 37,000 students with this large room where they can complete their coursework, participate in Zoom calls with teachers, and access class discussion boards—all without having to set foot in a traditional classroom,” said superintendent M. Ann Levett, describing the windowless 100,000-square-foot warehouse space in which pupils of all ages will sit side-by-side at long folding tables and use desktop PCs to access the school district’s web-based distance-learning environment.
“While the coronavirus has presented educators with a problem that has no perfect solution, we believe we have found an equitable approach that allows children to learn in a comfortable setting without ever having to wear a mask. And they won’t be staring at a screen all day, either. During break time, students can play together or simply relax in the adjacent auto-repair garage, which will serve as a communal recreation area.”
At press time, Levett told reporters that in preparation for the start of school, her district had mandated virus tests, and the results had come back negative for all 37,000 computers.