WATCH | Covid-19: Cape Town school makes desk shields to protect pupils

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  • Teachers at Dr GJ Joubert Primary School in Strand, Cape Town, have made special desk shields to protect their pupils from Covid-19.
  • The classrooms at the school are not big enough for pupils to abide by the strict social-distancing protocols, but the shields help to minimise the risk.
  • The shields were made from wood off-cuts and plastic sheeting which was donated by a company in Paarl.

A Cape Town teacher has come up with an innovative idea to help protect pupils from Covid-19 on their return to school.

Angus Hartley, a Grade 6 teacher at Dr GJ Joubert Primary School in the Strand, did this despite not having a big budget because to him, their safety was non-negotiable. 

According to Hartley, there were too many pupils and too few classrooms at the school to allow teachers and pupils to abide by the strict social-distancing protocols set out by the Department of Basic Education.

That was when he came up with the idea to make desk shields to protect each pupil.

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"My whole inspiration is from my wife and my children. I normally pick up waste wood throughout the year to make them things, whatever they want, and that's how I came up with the idea of making these shields," he said.

Principal Martin Leukes said the school had limited funds to work with as only about 30% of school fees were paid. 

"The challenge that we faced was, we don't have much money and so we had a restricted budget to work with," he added.

Cost-effective

Hartley managed to source free off-cuts from a wood factory, while a company in Paarl donated the plastic used to make the desk shields.

"So, we only paid money for the screws and those things … it was very cost-effective for us," Leukes said.

The desk shields for Grade 4 to 7 pupils already been constructed and they hope to finish the shields by next week. The teachers have also made face visors for each of the younger children.

"The children feel safe, the parents also feel very safe for their children and they sent more and more children to school the day after they got used to the shields," Leukes added.

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