Teaching was a hard job before the pandemic. The classroom of the “new normal” is going to be even more challenging. As teachers try to prepare for what is to come as students return to school, they have to think of ways to make their classrooms as safe as possible. One teacher decided to get creative with her classroom and made socially distanced desks into trucks to keep her students healthy and happy.
Socially Distanced Desks Turned Truck Desks for the New Normal
Texas kindergarten teacher Jennifer Birch Pierson knows that keeping five-year-olds apart will be a challenge. Having to wear masks and not being able to play will be hard. Young children just don’t fully understand what is going on.
To help make it easier for them, she turned all of their desks in ‘truck desks’. She took cardboard and paint and made each socially distanced desk to look like a unique truck for each student. This is rather than simply having strange and eerie-looking plastic barriers. (1)
Each desk is spaced six feet apart and has a plastic “windshield” that keeps the students safe while Pierson teaches. (1)
Compassion Goes Viral
A popular parenting Facebook page Maybe I’ll Shower Today shared a photo of her ready-to-go classroom on Wednesday. It has now been shared more than 20,000 times and has over 15,000 comments. (2) Most of the comments are people praising her for her efforts and thanking her for taking the time to make the classroom a more inviting place during such a scary time.
“Thank you for making it an inviting place to come especially for kindergarten, it is so sad and inappropriate to expect kids to not play when we know that’s how they experience the world around them,” (1)
“I love your classroom,” added another. “Glad they’re making it a fun thing even though there’s all kinds of restrictions good luck … sending you my love.” (1)
Others were also quick to point out that it is highly likely Pierson paid out of pocket for all of the materials to make each socially distanced desk, highlighting how much teachers do that receive no real reward or recognition. (1)
Others commented on how they still think it is unsafe to send kids back to school, and some made sure to note that every district has its own rules in regards to safety equipment, so not every teacher will be allowed to do something such as this. (1)
All the same, the overwhelming consensus was that we need more teachers like Pierson. Many parents said that if they knew their child was going to be in the hands of a teacher as thoughtful and compassionate as her, they would feel more confident sending them back to the classroom. (1)
Turbulence in Texas
The coronavirus outbreak in Texas is only getting worse, and the push to reopen schools has received much criticism from parents and teachers alike. Due to the public outcry, Governor Greg Abbott amended his original decision, saying that each school could decide between in-classroom or virtual learning. School districts also have the power to determine what’s best for their students based on the situation in their area. (1)
The Texas Education Administration also stated that schools could choose to delay opening for up to eight weeks without risking a loss of funding. Each school will have a supply of PPE, some of which will be provided by the CARES act and the state. (1) The Texas Division of Emergency Management is providing Texas schools with (1):
- 59 million masks
- 567,948 gallons of sanitizer
- 511,294 face shields
- 24,017 thermometers
With safety concerns looming, the upcoming school year is uncertain. However, with teachers like Jennifer Pierson, the kids have a chance to learn while minimizing risk.
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