Caddo principal takes initiative in classroom safety

Principal has an idea to help protect students, and she's calling on others to help.

SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - With children going back to school soon, many parents have questions about the safety of classrooms and what they will look like.

One local principal is taking the initiative to a make a big change to ensure classroom safety.

On Thursday, July 23, Kasie Mainiero, the principal at University Elementary School in southeast Shreveport, took to social media with an idea to install plexiglass dividers between student’s chairs in some classrooms.

Mainiero says she got the idea after seeing plexiglass dividers online and thought of trying it out at her school.

The dividers will be used in classrooms for the younger students, from pre-kindergarten to first grade.

“The little children are the ones who really have the hardest time keeping the masks on. You know, they’re going to have a little bit more of a difficult time,” said Mainiero. “It’d be really great if they could see each other, you know, and we thought that screen protection would just be an extra layer of protection when we’re looking at what little kids do.”

To Mainiero’s surprise, within just a few short hours after asking for the public’s help, the responses came pouring in.

“Oh, it’s been overwhelming. I’ve had a lot of response on the posts, like from, ‘we can come help, you know, put these together,’ ‘we could help donate the material, the supplies, what do you need?’ It’s a really nice response from the public,” says Mainiero.

At the moment, crews are about to wrap-up work on University Elementary’s heating and air system. Mainiero says once they are allowed back inside at the beginning of August, work can begin on installing the dividers.

Both Caddo and Bossier School Districts are also installing plexiglass shields in the school office areas where secretaries and clerical aides will come face-to-face with the public.

There is no requirement that districts provide plexiglass dividers in classrooms, and so far this is the only school in Caddo that has decided to take the task on voluntarily.

However, based on the response from the public, it may not be the last.

Mainiero said she will meet with a parent at his business warehouse next week to get some ideas on what supplies they will need to make the dividers.

The first day of school in Caddo Parish is set for Monday, August 24.

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