After months of anticipation, speculation and criticism, the CDC finally released updated guidance to help school systems decide the best path forward to bring students back into the classroom.
The update encourages school leaders to “layer” safety precautions: masks, social distancing, hand-washing, ventilation, building cleaning and contact tracing.
Nowhere in the guidelines does it require – or even suggest – implementing jail-like plexiglass barriers around each individual desk, but one school in South Carolina is taking safety measures to the extreme.
In a personal Facebook post, Horry County elementary school teacher Teresa Holmes shared an alarming video of her classroom ahead of the return to hybrid instruction.
The classroom, which is expected to have 32 students at full capacity, resembles more of a jail than a place of learning.
“Alright Mr. Richardson, I just have a question for the school board. I’m wondering, this is my classroom. I have a rather large classroom compared to the other classrooms in our building. But, I have 28 desks in here right now. If we go back 5 days a week, I’ll have 30 or 32 with the kids coming back from virtual. This is the middle seat of the back row of my classroom. This is their view of the board. So, I’m just wondering when we ordered this $5 million worth of plexiglass, did we have a classroom of 28 desks set up to where the school board members could sit in them and see what this was really going to be like? Because I’m still trying to figure out how, in between my classes, am I supposed to disinfect? How I’m supposed to hear my students when they’re in the back of the room wearing a mask behind all this plexiglass; how my students are going to be able to see my board or see me. I guess i’ll have to stand at the end of rows instead of at the board to try and work out problems or whatever. I really just need to know, was this really thought through?”
The school district must have realized the room looks oddly terrifying, as they requested the fifth grade teacher remove the video from her social media, the Post and Courier reports.
Indeed, the outrageous plexiglass structures are ultimately going to further impact the students’ ability to learn: they restrict the view of the board, make it difficult to hear the teacher and put a damper on collaborative work with peers.