As colleges and universities prepare to open up their campuses in the fall, designers and architects are helping them figure out ways to do that safely.
It's a portable module that campuses can use to test students and staff for the coronavirus, without having direct contact with each other.
The goal is to make testing more accessible, reduce stigma, and ultimately keep more people safe and healthy.
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The COVID Shield can be assembled as a single unit or connected to others to form a pavilion of testing stations. The creators said they made the shield flexible to adapt to fast-changing testing protocols. It can be quickly assembled by two people and the pieces collectively weigh 185 pounds, with no panel more than 60 pounds.
Designers told NBC 5 universities are looking at ways to track people entering campus and this option would allow for staff to assemble secure testing or temperature check stations at entrances.
The modules come with wheels and can be moved or used in a number of ways.
The firm has been getting calls from many clients – mainly universities – asking for guidance on how to rework their spaces on campus. Locally, the firm had a hand in revamping one of the libraries and the business school at Texas Christian University. Most recently, it also helped renovate the student union at Texas Woman’s University, which opened just weeks before the pandemic.
The firm is now helping campuses across the country figure out how adapt to by looking at ways to accommodate social distancing with the existing spaces they helped create.
Some ideas involve similar concepts to the COVID shield, such as portable tent structures or pop-up outdoor classrooms.