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Barriers in the classroom: Here’s a look at what Kirkwood is doing to keep students safe

One of the items sits on a student’s desk, nearly turning it into a cubicle, offering a barrier of protection around them
Credit: YouTube: Kirkwood School District

KIRKWOOD, Mo. — Families in the Kirkwood School District don’t yet know the exact plan schools will be following this fall, but they now have a better idea of what classrooms will look like.

“School won’t look the same as it did last February,” Kirkwood School District Superintendent David Ulrich said in a video message to families.

In the video, he gave parents a first look at the measures the district is taking to keep students, teachers and staff members safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.

One solution? Barriers that sit on top of each student’s desk.

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The barriers have a clear front, so students can still see their teacher, while each side is solid and blocks out the view to anyone sitting to the left and the right.

“As an added layer of protection, the District is purchasing barrier shields to assist students with distancing,” KSD wrote on its website. “Because these shields are mobile, they can be transported to other classrooms, as appropriate, and used to provide additional protection during lunch.”

All teachers and students in grades K-12 will be expected to wear masks throughout the day, the school district said. All staff members and students will be given two cloth masks but can bring or wear one of their one as well. Each KSD staff member also will receive a face shield.

READ MORE: How to get your kids to wear a mask

Credit: YouTube: Kirkwood School District

Each classroom will have hand sanitizer dispensers and they’ll also be added to common areas and near doors.

Ulrich said St. Louis County health officials asked school districts to hold off on releasing specific back-to-school plans for now.

One of the following three options look to be possible for Kirkwood at the start of the school year:

  1. Every student, every day: All students in school every day
  2. Blended learning: Groups of students learn on campus two days a week and continue learning online the other three days
  3. Online-only for all students: All learning is done virtually

“We will decide on a learning model in the next three weeks, based on guidance from our advisors, CDC, and the St. Louis County Health Department,” according to KSD’s website.

However, regardless of what option the school district goes with, all families will have the option for students to do full-time online learning for a semester or the school year. And even families who choose in-school learning will need to be able to pivot to distance learning again, depending on the coronavirus situation.

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