On Tuesday the Duval County School Board unanimously approved the use of protective barriers to help separate students during the upcoming school year.
The barriers will help encourage distancing in the COVID-19 era where it would otherwise be impossible to meet the recommended 6-foot separation of students.
District officials say elementary schools are the first priority with more than 100 in Duval County.
The district says these dividers are adding to the protective measures schools are already taking such as moving desks 6-feet apart where possible and incorporation of some online teaching.
Superintendent Dr. Diana Greene says the barriers are: "Adding a puzzle piece to create a safer environment for students and employees.”
The district says transparent screens will help protect students from the transmission of COVID 19 germ and is in alignment with recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for schools which states “install physical barriers, such as sneeze guards and partitions, particularly in areas where it is difficult for individuals to remain at least 6 feet apart”.
The district says the use of transparent screens would allow students to remove masks from their faces for the majority of the school day while they are at their desks.
Two local companies are in talks to make and install the screens. The total cost to the district will be approximately $4,000,000 which will be provided from a special fund used to categorize expenditures specifically addressing COVID-19 costs.