No Longer Divided

Students’ Desk Dividers are Finally Phased Out

Jack Tirsch, Editorial Director, Junior

The image of hundreds of PMHS students shuffling to class with their desk guards in hand has become a common sight in the halls this year. But there is change on the horizon. As of May 17, these desk guards will no longer be mandated by the school. From that day to the last day of classes, students are not required to put up their desk guards in each class. Throughout the school year, many students and teachers have voiced their complaints about the desk guards and have emphasized their inconvenience. However, according to the CDC, we might not have needed the dividers in the first place. This school year was plagued with many inconsistencies, and unfortunately, the desk guards were quite discordant with the student body. 

Since the beginning of the school year, students have dealt with agonizing desk guards almost every day. When walking to and from school, the guards easily bend in the wind due to their subpar structure. However, the desk guards can be used in a somewhat useful manner: when it rains, students often use their dividers as umbrellas. But, there is one major flaw with this method of rain protection. According to several students, they have reported their desk guards developing mold from water becoming trapped under the plastic screen. This occurrence can also be caused by walking when it is raining, not just using the guard as a shield from the rain. 

In addition to the guards’ inconvenience, studies have shown that the COVID-19 virus is airborne and not transferred through surfaces. Because of this, the desk guards are completely ineffective in preventing bacteria from traveling around and over the guards. The guards are about two feet tall which is less than optimal at blocking the bacteria from the virus from spreading to nearby students. Additionally, the side flaps of the desk guards do not fully extend to the edges of the desks so they also do not prevent germs from spreading to students sitting directly next to each other. 

Lastly, students and teachers alike have reported that the desk guards obscure students’ view of the board, especially those sitting in the back of the classroom. These desk guards have even made it difficult to pay attention in class and take notes, among other tools used through the use of the board. The guards’ plastic screens already make the board more difficult to see, but if a student is looking at the board through several guards, their view is hindered even more.

With CDC restrictions becoming less strict, the environment at PMHS is transitioning back to normality, even more so with the eradication of the desk guards. Although the guards may have provided limited protection for students’ health, many are relieved and ecstatic that they are finally gone.