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Teachers Build Desk Shields For Students At Orem School

OREM, Utah – First-grade teachers at Northridge Elementary School in Orem devoted part of their summer to researching, designing and building desk shields for their students.

“For several days, that’s what we did,” said John LaBare, the school’s principal. “We cut PVC pipe and taped plastic to them.”

LaBare said the teachers came to him and requested the desk shields so that they could safely teach phonics and see the shape of the students’ mouths.

“So the teacher can lower their mask for a minute and the students can lower their masks for a minute to see those important sounds,” he said.

LaBare said he worked with the teachers to come up with a design plan and then went shopping at the hardware store.

“It’s instilled a lot of confidence in my teachers and their ability to do what they need to do,” LaBare said. “It gives them the empowerment to be the best teachers they can this school year.”

The project has caught on, he said, with other schools calling to get instructions for how to make the homemade dividers.

In addition to first-grade classrooms at Northridge, the desk shields have also been placed in special education classrooms.

LaBare said the long hours of preparing the school and teachers with cleaning supplies and personal protective equipment has paid off and made for a comfortable first day of school.

“The students are happy, our staff is happy,” he said. “I love seeing the eyes of the students when they meet their new teachers.”

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