Duval County

St. Johns County Schools to install thousands of desk shields next week for COVID-19 protection

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Heading back to school next month for in-person learning is going to look a little different for many districts in our area.

In St. Johns County, school starts back up again on August 31.

Action News Jax got a firsthand look at how St. Johns County is using desk shields to protect a students while inside the classroom.

The school district is getting ready to put these 24 inch desk shields in all 40 of their schools.

Kyle Dresback, the associate superintendent of students services told me he wants parents to know they’re working hard to make this school year as normal as possible when students return.

“It’s not an intimidating desk shield, it’s not something that’s going to cage you in,” Desback said.

Some of these shields will be mobile, while others will be fastened down to the desk using the sticker at the bottom of the shields.

The district said one of the ideas behind the desk shields is that when a student comes into the classroom, they can actually take off their face mask so that they’re not wearing it seven or more hours out of the day.

He said it will also gives students a chance to interact with their peers while still being productive inside the classroom.

“You can be able to see me as I’m communicating, you know we talk a lot about reading, it’s important for the student to see how the teacher is formulating those words, how they’re creating sounds and those types of things,” Desback said.

Dresback said they can even be used as a learning tool with dry erase markers for math and problem solving.

On top of being cleaned daily, the plexiglass will also be sanitized with a special solvent to help stop of the spread of  COVID-19.

“It’s an antimicrobial solution that’s being sprayed on campus, not just for the desk shields but also for the chairs, for the tables, and that allows for an extra layer of protection,” he said.

Dresback told me the district has ordered a little over 77,000  desk shields for all of their schools and spent around 1 point 6 million dollars on them.

The St. Johns County School district told me they’ll begin installing the desks inside classrooms next week.

It’ll start installing them inside elementary schools first.