ALLENDALE COUNTY, S.C. (WJBF) — We are getting a first look at what classrooms inside Allendale County will look like at the beginning of the school year. This fall, plexiglass will be separating every student with classrooms being able to fit a little more than 10 students.

NewsChannel 6’s cameras were rolling as school employees at Allendale County Schools were hard at work assembling plexiglass dividers for each classroom. They are making sure students are safe when returning to in-person learning. “They allow students and teachers to maintain visibility while keeping safe, social distancing. It also will limit the spread of germs in the classroom,” Principal of Allendale-Fairfax Middle School Dr. Willie Robinson told NewsChannel 6’s Shawn Cabbagestalk.

“I think they’re really great because you can see right through them. It’s a little hard to teach when you can’t get close to the students and touch them. But this is probably the next best thing,” Seventh-grade teacher Deborah Moore added. “My biggest concern is them getting knocked off the desks,” she added jokingly.

The new safety measures will be installed at all schools within the district including Ms. Moore’s classroom. “I am nervous and excited. I think I’m ready,” she said when asked if she’s excited about the new school year. 

“The desk shields are clear. Teachers are still able to matriculate around the classroom. They’re able to raise their hand and in the age of social distancing, it’s perfect. We are trying to eliminate or alleviate the disease. We want to ensure that our kids are safe,” Superintendent Allendale County Schools Dr. Margaret Gilmore added.

Seventh-grade teacher Deborah Moore’s classroom with desks with plexiglass dividers at Allendale-Fairfax Middle School

The district didn’t have to spend anything out of pocket. The price tag is a heafty one if school leaders had to foot the bill. “The desk shields and the face shields, probably total about $30,000,” Dr. Gilmore added.

We’ve learned classrooms were designed to fit up to 27 students but with the new guidance, they are only allowing 10 to 11 students. Right now, students have the option to learn from home or in person.

For social distancing protocols, students will not be allowed to sit at any desks with an “X” on it. 

Officials added that teachers and students have faced many challenges thanks to COVID-19. “We’re trying to create a normal learning environment with the safety protocols in place to ensure because we’re in a pandemic and we want to be sure that our kids are safe and that our kids, and it doesn’t interrupt the learning either. So I think we’ve created an environment for our students to welcome our students in and make them feel good about being in the learning environment,” she said.

With the new protective equipment like plexiglass and face shields in place, officials are confident that Allendale County Schools will move forward in the new school year. “We’re always appreciative of what the department of education does for us in Allendale. They’re always supportive and always provide the things that we need to be successful,” she added.

A number of other schools will also install the plexiglass partitions thanks to the state Department of Education. 

Districts within the CSRA:
• Bamberg 01
• Bamberg 02
• Saluda

Other South Carolina districts:
• Anderson 04
• Beaufort
• Berkeley
• Clarendon 03
• Dillon 04
• Dorchester 04
• Fairfield
• Florence 01
• Florence 03
• Florence 04
• Hampton 01
• Horry
• Marion
• Marlboro
• Lexington/Richland 05
• Richland 01
• Richland 02
• Spartanburg 03
• Williamsburg
• York 01
• York 03