Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How does an outdoor classroom keep students safer from COVID-19?
A: Studies have shown that COVID-19 can spread much more easily indoors than in outdoor conditions. There’s a much greater dilution of particles outdoors thanks to greater ventilation, airflow and sunlight. In a study of more than 7,300 cases in China, just one was connected to outdoor transmission. In addition, it’s much easier to respect social distancing protocols while outdoors than it is in confined spaces. This greatly reduces the risk of contraction, especially when considering how difficult it is to monitor students’ proper usage of face masks.
Q: What sort of materials are used in an OutClass™?
A: All of our products are made from natural, sustainably-harvested wood products. The biggest advantage of wood is that it is a porous surface that has been shown to eliminate any trace of COVID-19 within 24 hours. Compare that to non-porous surfaces that typically make up the majority of indoor desks and chairs (such as plastic and steel), on which the virus can persist for 4 days or more. Each student’s seat includes a backpack hitch to keep all materials self-contained.
Q: How long does it take to set up an OutClass™?
A: Each classroom can be set up or removed in less than 2 hours. Our 15 student module can be set up on a soccer field in an hour, while our 30 student module would generally take an hour and a half. Each OutClass™ system ships with all the equipment you need to properly and safely set up the classroom that’s best suited for your school.
Q: What happens when social distancing ends and things return to normal?
A: Once measures relax, the OutClass™ offers endless configurations that can be quickly implemented based on your evolving needs. Seating arrangements can be brought-in closer together, or in groups, for a more interactive learning experience. Opportunities also abound to rearrange your OutClass™ into amazing play structures, gathering spaces, benches and bleachers, or a more elaborate, permanent outdoor classroom. See our OutClass™ transformed section, as well as our specifications page for more details.
Q: When do we need to order by to have an OutClass™ ready by the start of the school year?
A: We are working hard to meet the growing demand for outdoor classrooms across North America. It can take up to 12 weeks to receive your order.
Q: What happens in the wintertime or in inclement weather?
A: Each OutClass™ system comes with optional all-weather cover sails to offer shade and help act as wind/precipitation barriers. Of course, no one solution will be perfect or without individual challenges. Experiencing the elements is part-and-parcel to offering an outdoor classroom, and a growing body of evidence shows the numerous benefits to students; from building resiliency, to improving attention spans, to boosting immune function. Our director of education has been crafting workshops that incorporate outdoor curriculum for nearly a decade, and outdoor classrooms already exist across the country in northern latitudes, from Wawa, Ontario to Whitehorse, Yukon. The old adage “there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing” is often applicable in considering the type of fringe weather that might initially challenge once preconception of “appropriate” weather. There will be climates best suited for year-round use, however, the vast majority of outdoor classrooms in North America will remain viable resources for a majority of the school year.
Q: Do I have to worry about liabilities and insurance?
A: No you don’t! Our OutClass™ seats and desks are designed with a low center of gravity, weight distribution, and stable-base which means they will not tip over without a machine or a directed effort by adults. Finished without splinters for safety while maintaining a porous surface for COVID-mitigation and UV protection for outdoor conditions. Every OutClass™ outdoor classroom is fully insured and specifically designed to be stored and used outdoors. Most indoor classroom infrastructure will void any liability insurance once used or stored outdoors.
Q: Won’t students get more distracted in an outdoor classroom?
A: An overwhelming abundance of studies have demonstrated the long term benefits of outdoor classrooms and learning. From higher grade point averages and better test scores, to decreased behavioral problems and reduced symptoms of ADHD (let alone the numerous health benefits!), the science is unanimous: outdoor classrooms improve the learning experience for students.