PS 15 in Red Hook, Brooklyn is thinking outside the box when it comes to educating some of its students during the pandemic. Actually, outside the school.
“I think it’s an opportunity for teachers to realize this is another classroom and they can use nature as a classroom, “ said retired teacher Bill Fulbrecht.
The school is one of hundreds that have applied to have some of their classes outdoors this year, to reduce the threat of the coronavirus.
Schools can apply to use nearby streets, sidewalks, andparks for outdoor classes.
“Look at these old buildings. Do the windows open? If they open, is there airflow in the classrooms? Are there filters? These are all big question marks," said parent Rebekah Cook-Mack.
PS 15 set up a demonstration Wednesday on how it would use the street and sidewalk outside the school for some of its Pre-K classes. Students would have individual stations six feet part , always wearing a mask and using hand sanitizer.
The school envisions the students meeting outdoors for story time, art projects and other activities, just like they would indoors.
“Well, I feel like that is going to be very exciting,” said one third grade student.
Parents would not be allowed to enter school buildings with their children, but they could be with them outdoors for part of the morning, another selling point for many parents .
“I think it’s great. I wish they could do this everyday. Outdoor learning is really the safest way to go,” said parent Debbie Riservato.
Mayor Bill de Blasio finally agreed to the program after pressure from parents and community leaders.
Supporters of outdoor learning say they don’t see bad weather as a problem.
“Recess goes on most days outside, even in the winter in New York City. Are there some snow days? There are some snow days. Some days, school is even canceled. But kids are on the playground all winter long," said Brooklyn City Councilman Brad Lander.