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Schools install desk shields

SOUTH MAGOFFIN – While local COVID-19 cases seem to be declining in numbers, Magoffin County Schools are taking extra measures to keep students safely in the classrooms.

Mortimer Media Group visited South Magoffin Elementary to discuss the new installation of desk shields, which the district recently purchased 1,200 units to add another level of safety during the pandemic.

South Magoffin Elementary Principal Steve Cole said, “It’s been a little hectic and the work has been non-stop. Probably the most effort has been just trying to reach our students during the pandemic. We’ve tried to do it digitally. We’ve tried to do it with packets. That still remains our biggest goal – just to try to educate our students.”

As students now have the option to attend in-person classes four days a week, the school district has installed small, clear plexiglass material to every desk for another layer of individual protection for the students.

“The district staff have been looking for a way we can provide another barrier for any humans in the building – students and staff – and we came up with these desk shields or sneeze shields,” Cole said. “It just creates another barrier between the students and their classmates and their teacher.”

Cole said so far students don’t seem to mind the addition of the shields to their desks.

“Most of them want to know if they can personalize them with stickers or their own artwork, but so far it hasn’t been a hindrance at all,” Cole said. “It’s another aspect of being able to provide a safe environment for our students.”

South Magoffin Elementary, which traditionally has a smaller student population than the other schools in the district, has a very high rate of students’ parents choosing in-person instruction instead of virtual.

“We’re really excited,” Cole said. “Seventy percent of our increased enrollment is back here in person at South and we’re really excited to be able to offer some normalcy to our students in a very difficult time.”

Even with added precautions, there still may be times where classes have to be moved to virtual for a time, as was evident with this announcement made by North Magoffin Elementary on Wednesday this week:

We were notified this morning that we had a custodial staff member test positive for COVID-19 at North Magoffin Elementary. This staff member did not work Monday and was only in contact with the kitchen staff yesterday morning. While the cooks are not exhibiting any symptoms, they have had to be quarantined. Due to the lack of kitchen staff, North Magoffin Elementary will operate on a virtual schedule only beginning tomorrow, March 25th through next Wednesday, March 31st. There will be no in-person classes on these dates. Spring break is scheduled for April 1st and 2nd. In-person classes will resume on Monday, April 5th. All other schools in the district will continue to offer in-person classes.
All contacts have already been notified.


UPDATE 3/25/21: NME announced today that they have been able to cover the kitchen staff and will have in-person class on Monday, March 29.

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