Plague-proof Florida and Texas with shaded outdoor classrooms?

Although Florida and Texas did not have significant coronaplague, they did go into full coronapanic, including shutdown of schools even for children under 10 whom the Swiss say cannot be relevant spreaders of infection.

Most schools have a lot of additional land, e.g., a vast parking lot as well as athletic fields. What about building some big palapas on some of this land, with warming lamps in the ceiling, to serve as outdoor classrooms? It could look like this restaurant in Mexico:


Alternatively, a boring American-style aluminum shade and screen structure (“Florida room”).

Either way, if the weather isn’t truly nasty, hold classes outdoors where plague transmission is unlikely. Will it cost a lot to have government-built shade structures? Sure! But it can’t be significant compared to what we’re currently spending as we try to flee in terror from coronavirus.

Obviously this can’t work in the core plague regions of the U.S., i.e., Boston and New York City. But why not in the parts of the U.S. where the weather is generally pleasant from September through May?

(Maybe extend this a bit farther north with (a) heated seats, and (b) wind barriers that can be raised or lowered as necessary.)

Readers: What’s wrong with this idea? Children in poor countries all over the world learn in some fairly basic spaces, sometimes even under just the shade of a tree. Are Americans so fearful of Covid-19-that they would shut down a school in which 95 percent of the activity is outdoors?


  • “Social Distancing Is Not Enough” (Altantic, one day later this this post): “A Hong Kong paper awaiting peer review found that of 7,324 documented cases in China, only one outbreak occurred outside … The risk of infection indoors is almost 19 times higher than in open-air environments … Every noncontact activity—talking, eating, working out—becomes significantly safer when you take it outside.”

7 thoughts on “Plague-proof Florida and Texas with shaded outdoor classrooms?

  1. Remember the old plague, just last year schools in MA were curtailing outdoor sports because of a mosquito borne illness. The only safe thing is for teachers to teach school from their vacation homes while the kids learn in their parents vacation homes. The poor can have the cities and the rural folk can just keep the food coming to the door.
    Serious question will corona chan kill the nice paying cushy busy work jobs or are we still going to pretend they are producing value?

  2. Americans don’t seem to be very good at keeping multiple mass hysterias going at once. I could be wrong, though–we’ll see if anyone objects to holding classes outdoors on the grounds that it makes children more susceptible to abduction by clowns. (For any non-US readers: yes, there actually was mass hysteria about clowns abducting children in 2016.)

  3. In my little town in MA, we’re going to be testing this idea in July, albeit with adults and just for one day. I just learned that the Select Board has decided to hold the Town Caucus outside. I don’t have all the details yet: outdoor structures, masks, hand sanitizer, distancing TBD. I wonder how they’re going to square that with not holding gatherings of more than 10 people? Are they going to ask the Board of Health to enforce the mask and social-distancing and assembly rules? Will the BOH have to shut down the caucus if more than 10 people show up? Millions of questions.

  4. I built a 20 foot boat in 1999-2000 in a Florida poly shelter. It lasted the two years and had maybe one more year in it when I took it down. (You can buy the boat: ) These posts may be all tongue in cheek but “outdoor classes in Florida” would certainly work better than laptop classes in Florida. Our little nieces are getting about 4 hours per week face time with their teachers.

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