Teachers turn students' desks into jeeps to make returning to school easier

With students returning to school after months away, many are facing restrictions that can seem daunting for younger kids.

Two teachers at a school in Florida knew that their students would have to be socially distanced and use screens to reduce the spread of droplets.

But to make it a little more fun, Kim Martin, 51, and Patricia Dovey, 35, of St Barnabas Episcopal School in DeLand, created little jeeps for the students to sit at.

They modified their school children’s desks to come complete with paper tires, headlights, and license plates, along with three windows of Plexiglas to prove that in-class lessons can be both safe and fun during the COVID pandemic.

The colourful little jeeps also incorporate three-sided plastic dividers that work as sneeze and droplet guards but also serve as windshields and side windows.

It took them a week to finish the project but it means students will be far enough apart to allow them to remove their face masks while sitting at their desk.

Kim Said ‘Our school gave us Plexiglas tri-folds, which we felt would overwhelm our little ones,

‘So we took the design and turned them into little Jeeps.’

The teachers have already had meet and greets with their incoming students, where they gifted their students with keys to their cars and told them ‘just like in a motor vehicle, you have to stay in your car at all times and wear a mask when you get out in case you come across hazardous conditions.’

They were inspired by another teacher in Texas who had turned her students’ desks into small cars.

Patricia said: ‘I immediately wanted to re-create the design.”

The teachers bought the extra materials from their own pockets and got help from friends and family to put it all together.

‘It’s colorful and it just shows the age of innocence,’ Kim explained.

‘If we can get them to buy into the idea that sitting in a vehicle is really exciting, maybe it won’t be so hard to keep them at their desks.

‘We were just trying our best to make the room look more kid-appropriate and not so scary

‘On their first day back in class, their students will design their own license plates for their Jeeps

‘It’s going to be more fun to say, “Hey, purple Jeep, you’re getting out of your lane”‘

Kim added. ‘I think it will be a smart way to keep the kids engaged.’

Paul Garcia, the head of St. Barnabus, said the school is ‘blessed to have such collaborative and forward-thinking teachers.’

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