Social Distancing In Education

Denise Crouch

Denise Crouch

We are all familiar with the need to social distance, something that has become part of daily life for most of us, but what does this mean for daily life in an education setting? How can we help staff and students work together whilst staying apart?

Much of the advice being given is about managing people and behaviour, but what of our environments? The classroom, the library, the staff-room?

In fact, making better use of the spaces we already have available can be the most economical way of maximising social distancing. The practical and most straight forward ways of working are often the most manageable.

How to make space work for you

Firstly, take stock of the spaces you have available and monitor how it is used.

Really think about the areas that you have available to you, not just classrooms but lecture theatres, canteens, study areas. Every available space will need to be considered, even corridors and cafeterias. How are they currently used? Where are the bottle necks? Where do people like to study? What about introducing one-way systems?

Re-consider areas you had previously written off&

Even that small space that seems of no use, the one under the stairs or at the back of the library. Think about how this can be used. Moving storage from a classroom to the end of the corridor might help make more room to separate desks. The wasted space behind the bookshelf could become a quiet study area.

Space is more valuable than ever so it is vital that we make the most of what we have. Be creative with your spaces.

Read how University of Huddersfield maximised space with loan lockers

Repurpose existing spaces

By removing traditional PCs and offering students or staff the ability to borrow a device from self-service laptop or tablet loan lockers can really help to maximise space. This is where LapSafe® can help.

The Diplomat™ is a sophisticated and intelligent self-service locker system which loans devices or lockers 24 x 7. Fully charged devices such as laptops, Chromebooks and tablets can be automatically loaned to borrowers without staff interaction.

Removing traditional PC desks and installing self-service loan lockers allows you to create flexible and agile space. Think about creating collaborative working areas as well as individual study areas. Alternatively, the self-service lockers can compliment your PCs offering students the ability to use both.

This style of agile working space is ideal for all learning spaces as well as centralised libraries.

Read how Edinburgh Napier revolutionised their study areas

Edinburgh Napier University Case Study

24 x 7 Access

Self-service device loans allow devices to be loaned 24 x 7 without staff interaction. So, in addition to maximising learning space, the Diplomat can loan devices to students outside of normal library hours. Sharing the devices allows all students to have access to technology and not just those that can afford it.

LapSafe®’s Diplomat™ Self-Service Lockers comes with an ‘Availability Dashboard’ to display which lockers have devices available. This stops students queuing to pick up a device as they can see exactly which area of the campus has devices available.

Read how Manchester Metropolitan University moved to 24 x 7 access

Protecting the user during the pandemic

LapSafe® have worked hard to keep the user safe during the pandemic. They have enhanced their software to allow each laptop to be held back from being loaned for a period of time. This allows laptops and bays to be cleaned by a member of staff, or to allow bacteria to die of its own accord (current guidelines suggest a period of 72 hours).

LapSafe® also offer the application of an antimicrobial coating to the lockers on-site or for new orders prior to installation. The Touch Antimicrobial coating is a permanent protective coating that can be applied to the self-service lockers without the need for removal or replacement. A crystal clear virtually invisible antimicrobial coating that can be applied to the locker doors and handles helps stop the growth of bacteria.

More details can be found here

Laptop Sanitising Unit

In January 2021 LapSafe® have launched the NEW Diplomat™ UV-C Locker. A semi-automatic UV-C sanitising unit which will sanitise the laptop or tablet in 15 seconds.

99% of bacteria and some viruses* are inactivated when exposed to high-intensity UV-C light. Fitted with Phillips UV-C bulbs, you can have confidence that Diplomat™ UV-C can help with the establishment’s protection strategy.

*In laboratory testing, our UV-C light sources inactivated 99% of SARS-CoV-2 virus on a surface with an exposure time of 6 seconds.


The Diplomat™ UV-C helps to provide a ‘COVID-Safe’ environment for students to work, learn, teach and access shared devices.