CIVIL ENGINEERING 365 ALL ABOUT CIVIL ENGINEERING



AbstractAs the COVID-19 pandemic continues, the role of facility managers in controlling and limiting the spread of the virus among facility occupants is critical. To enable facility managers to design and evaluate the effectiveness of facility operational measures (e.g., limiting room occupancy, staggering schedules), researchers have developed simulation models that can predict the physical distancing behaviors of occupants in a given facility layout and facility operational policies. However, these models do not take into consideration the impacts of spatial and temporal constraints in a facility, which can limit occupants’ ability to physical distance. To this end, this study examines whether and how such constraints affect occupants’ physical distancing behaviors in the context of K–12 educational facilities, where physical distancing is extremely important. A survey to examine students’ physical distancing behaviors in educational facilities was designed and conducted in four educational facilities (n=527). The results indicate that occupants’ physical distancing behaviors are significantly affected by crowdedness of space (i.e., spatial constraint) given that spatial density impacts the perceived risk of infection. On the other hand, it appears that time pressure due to limited time to meet occupancy schedules (i.e., temporal constraints) does not much influence physical distancing behaviors. These findings are expected to provide a basis upon which to enhance occupant behavior simulation efforts by deepening our understanding of physical distancing behaviors of children and adolescents in educational facilities.



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