Two Florida teachers turned their students’ desks into jeeps to make them feel less worried about social distancing.
Patricia Dovi and Kim Martin, from St Barnabas Episcopal School, spent a week redesigning the desks in their classrooms, turning the three-sided plastic dividers into jeeps with paper tyres, headlights and number plates for each student.
Ms Martin said she wanted to make the return to school less overwhelming for her students, who are aged six and seven, and who haven’t been in the classroom since March.
My co-workerâs room. She teaches first grade and didnât want it to look scary with all the dividers. Isnât this great? pic.twitter.com/ng3IPIflCo— Nan Lafferty (@NanLafferty) August 18, 2020
She told the PA news agency: “We had a one-on-one meet the teacher’s yesterday, which was the opportunity for each child to come in with their parents and we gave them the keys to their new vehicle.
“It was cute, they actually thought they could put the key in the ignition and it should turn over.
“They seemed excited. Everyone is a little wary about everything at this point but they seemed genuinely happy to have that home base and that safe zone that can just be theirs.
“A couple that are more aware, I think for them it was reassuring to hear us say that no one else will be in their desk, and no one else will touch their desk.”
The desks, which are spaced a distance apart, are the only place where students can remove their face masks, with students not allowed to enter each other’s vehicles.
Students will return to the classroom on Wednesday. Classes were previously moved online to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
The idea was originally inspired by a teacher in Texas, Jennifer Pierson, who posted the initiative on Instagram.
After seeing it, Ms Martin and Ms Dovi reached out to her and asked if she would be willing to share the idea with them.
“She was willing to share, and we just drove off with it!” said Ms Martin.
“We all have to be creative and we are all relying on each other as educators, it’s a unique time to be a teacher because everyone is being so generous with sharing their ideas.
“Teachers are united no matter where they are.”