Safe at School – How to keep students safe for on-campus learning

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Posted By Joe Oringel

Tableau Study Hall invites data-impacted influencers in higher education and K12 to share best practices, editorials and stories. This week’s guest is Joe Oringel, Managing Director and co-founder of Tableau Alliance Partner Visual Risk IQ.

How to best use available classroom assets, given the social distancing requirements of COVID-19?

While it’s a well-understood problem that K-12 and Higher Ed classrooms cannot safely accommodate as many students as prior to the pandemic, the “what if” calculations to determine exactly “how many students” and “how, where, and when” to safely return to school are mind-boggling.  

Updating architectural drawings can be expensive and they are difficult to adapt for multiple, varying scenarios. Furthermore, understanding total capacity requires summarization of many, multiple “what if” calculations and a more iterative approach to best measure school capacity. Re-computation of seating charts dynamically with Tableau software enables more accurate assessment of capacity for individual classrooms, fully aggregated buildings and the entire campus.

Why are dynamic seating charts valuable?

Dynamic seating charts such as those below help show where students should sit to optimize social distance for both fixed classroom seating and movable seating. Importantly, the results can be easily aggregated to help with student, faculty, and other resource scheduling and provide a more accurate and complete picture of institutional capacity, given desired inputs and constraints.

This approach is scalable and can easily be adapted for any variety of classroom, building, and campus configurations. Power users of Tableau can readily adapt this solution for their own combination of classrooms, laboratories, office spaces, and even stadiums on campus.

See: Tableau Public at to explore more, or see below for a video demonstration

Joe Oringel is a Managing Director and co-founder of Visual Risk IQ, a Tableau Alliance Partner that helps Finance and Internal Audit teams see and understand their data. Since their founding in 2006, Visual Risk IQ has completed more than 100 successful data analytics and visual reporting engagements for clients across diverse industries. They are proud to have worked with dozens of Higher Education clients and have a growing practice in the Public Sector, including K-12 education.

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