Speaker Series #22 – Safer Schools

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Cities on the Frontline Speaker Series

#22 – Safer Schools – August 6, 2020

Schools need to be the safest, most inclusive, and most comfortable environments of any part of urban life; without a secure and relaxing place to learn and to play, children are unable to develop to their full potential. A range of shocks and stresses affect children’s ability to learn, ranging from the ability of physical buildings to withstand earthquakes and protect lives during such crises, to providing cool spaces during heat waves, brought about by climate change.

Ana Ardelean, Chief Resilience Officer of Tbilisi, Georgia shared how Tbilisi kindergartens are in need of significant upgrades. The kindergartens are over capacity with most are not safe to seismic risks. Covid-19 complicates the situation as more physical spaces required between students.

Alina Sava, Education Specialist, Education Global Practice, World Bank showcased an assessment of schools that needed retrofitting in Bucharest, highlighting how many students were in potential danger before such works take place. She also shared the school reopening plan for Fall 2020. In Bucharest, there is high percentage of 44 % students who have no connection at home will be needed to learn in-person at school. In addition, schools are overcrowded and 45,000 students (17%) learn in buildings not retrofitted, at high seismic risk. Bucharest is looking at three different scenarios in-person, hybrid mode and fully digital. In any scenario, the most vulnerable – Roma, SEN, disabilities and poor- must be prioritized with digital equipment.

Raphaëlle Thiollier, Oasis Project Manager, City of Paris shared the city’s transformational Schoolyard Oases project, which aims to turn schoolyards into cooling islands in the heart of the city to create a more livable space, but fundamentally allow for children to learn in a safe and productive environment.

Watch full session here:

Speaker Series #22 – Safer Schools