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University Lecture Chairs: Preparing For Students to Return

Evertaut News

8 Jul, 2020

The end of the academic year is usually one of the busiest times for lecture chair manufacturers as universities across the country want their new lecture theatre seating installed over the Summer months when teaching spaces aren’t in use.

This year things have obviously been very different as students and members of staff have remained at home for many months already, with no one knowing when there might be a return to normality.

Whilst many establishments have put refurbishment plans on hold, others are going ahead with works now that buildings are empty and contractors are allowed back on site. Even if lecture theatres can’t go back to full capacity for a long time, plans will need to be made for students to return, whatever format that might be in.

If you have lecture theatres with seats that need replacing or refurbishing, now is a good time to put the wheels in motion to get the work done. Although it may be quite a while before your teaching spaces can be filled with students once again, if budgets allow, it makes sense to get contractors in now whilst the work can be done safely.

Warwick Uni Before After


Social Distancing Lecture Chairs

Although social distancing is an immediate issue, university lecture chairs are a long-term investment and so it’s important to think of the bigger picture when commissioning a new seating installation. Most lecture chairs are fitted in fixed rows and whilst this may not seem ideal under current circumstances, it is the best way to maximise capacity – a requirement that will likely need to be met again at some point in the future.

As a short-term solution, there are products available to help educational establishments facilitate social distancing within their lecture theatres and teaching spaces. Simple yet effective ideas such as seat covers and seat caps clearly indicate seats that cannot be used and are quick and easy to fit and remove.

Diploma lecture seating with social distancing seat wrap attached to highlight seat is out of use


Choosing New Lecture Chairs

If you’re going to update seating in an existing lecture theatre, you may just want to replace like for like but if you want something different then look at all the options available and how they will meet the needs of your students and the requirements of the subjects taught in the lecture theatre. There are a variety of different chair/desk combinations on the market from rows of fixed desking to flip-up writing tablets and individual folding desks.

Range of university lecture chairs with different style desks

Upholstery Hygiene

COVID-19 has made everyone much more aware of hygiene and the way viruses and bacteria can be transferred through cross-contamination of surfaces. Whilst we hope that the disease will one day be a thing of the past, it’s impact on the world and the potential for future pandemics means that cleaning and hygiene will be a key element that architects and interior designers consider when specifying products and materials in the future.

When it comes to seating upholstery, evidence suggests that textiles are not seen as a major carrier of the virus as it does not survive as well on soft surfaces as it does on hard surfaces. Cleaning and disinfection is obviously still key to minimising the risk of transmission and leading contract fabric manufacturer, Camira has put together a guide to help with this which you can read here.

An alternative to fabric upholstery is antimicrobial vinyl which has been around for a long time and is commonly used on seating in hospitals and healthcare establishments. Antimicrobial additives are sealed within the core of the vinyl and remain active for the duration of its life.

Chieftain Just Colour is a popular range of seating vinyl which has been tested to ISO 18184: 2019; a test which determines anti-viral activity. This test found that Coronavirus is completely eliminated within just over one hour of contact with Just Colour antimicrobial vinyl, without any additional cleaning or disinfection. You can watch a short video about this on Cheiftain’s website here.

As this type of vinyl is inherently antimicrobial, it does not require any disinfection and can simply be sponged down with warm soapy water to clean.

Whilst you may not have previously considered vinyl upholstery for your new lecture chairs, it’s an option you may now want to look at. Although vinyl may not currently be a common upholstery material used on university lecture chairs, it can look very smart and stylish on this type of seating. Below black vinyl is combined with walnut effect desks to create a professional image in this university lecture theatre.

University lecture chairs upholstered with black vinyl


If you want to move forward with replacing lecture chairs in your university, Evertaut can provide a quotation and seating plan (if required) without needing to visit your site. If you can provide us with measurements and images of your existing lecture theatre this will help greatly.

Seating manufacture has been back underway in our factory for several months now and we’ve put measures in place to protect our employees and customers. So, if you want to get new lecture chairs organised whilst facilities are out of use then please get in touch now.


Help to Facilitate Social Distancing

To facilitate social distancing once students are able to return, we are also able to offer Social Distancing Seat Covers and Social Distancing Seat Caps which allow you to indicate lecture chairs as out of use and prevent them from being sat on. Both options are manufactured from antimicrobial fabric and can be printed with any text or design, in any colour.

To make an enquiry about university lecture chairs or seating social distancing aids, please complete and submit the short form below.