MADISON, Ala. — Some students in the Tennessee Valley are back in class, while others will be going back inside school soon. Because healthcare officials and parents have concerns about airborn and contact exposure to the virus, a business created a cubicle to slow the spread.
Masks, face shields, and plastic barriers are being used inside classrooms, but some people say they aren’t very efficient.
Bob Cuffe, the president and founder of Learning Cubicles, said the reason more creative solutions have not been available is because everything changes quickly.
“Nobody has had any time to think it out,” said Cuffe. “We hadn’t seen anything that really worked efficiently.”
The biggest worry about kids going back to school is the spread of germs and the spread of COVID-19, so Cuffe and his team wanted to find a solution to the problem. They created something new to help slow the spread of COVID-19 in schools: Learning Cubicles.
The inspiration behind the cubicles was the inefficiency of plastic barriers between desks.
“I actually saw one of these desk shields in a school and I thought, ‘What are those for?’ and the teacher told me about them and I said ‘I dont see how that’s going to work very good because all the student’s got to do is look up, look sideways,'” said Cuffe. “They are pointless.”
A desk fits inside the cubicle and the student, along with their books and belongings, are protected from germs outside of the barrier.
“If you can close the students inside an area, it does two things: one, it keeps the germs inside here, but two, it protects everyone else,” said Cuffe.
The cubicle is designed with material that doesn’t dampen the sound quality so students can still hear the teacher, and the teacher can still hear the students.
Cuffe says another plus to the cubicles is that they are see-through, so nobody’s face is hidden.
“One teacher told us in her classroom, all the kids are wearing masks and she doesn’t know who the student is anymore because they can’t really see their faces,” said Coffe. “The mask covers all of our expressions. You don’t know who is talking, and that’s very important for communication.”
Cuffe says so far, his team has received positive feedback and many are saying “across the board, that this is the best solution that they’ve seen.”
Learning Cubicles has been filed with the U.S. Patent Office, with International status pending.