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Two first-grade teachers at St. Barnabas Episcopal School in DeLand, Patricia Dovi and Kimberly Martin, have become international celebrities. They have taken the obstacle of desk shields and made them into jeeps to navigate these unusual times. The jeeps are vrooming all over the world with international media coverage, including NBC, CNN, Drive.Com, Fox News, Headline News, Southern Living Magazine and more.

“Our school gave us plexiglass trifolds, which we felt would overwhelm our little ones. So we took the design and turned them into little jeeps. Now, instead of telling our students what they cannot do in the classroom, we can tell them what they can do! You can remain in the vehicle and you can take the mask off when inside, and you can continue to have fun in your off-road learning experience. So we are playing on this vehicle concept to turn social distancing fun and more kid-friendly,” said Martin.

Dovi said, “My mother and aunt, who are both retired teachers, helped me make the desk jeeps before my first day of class. Another former art teacher helped me paint a bulletin board for my room with a jeep-adventure theme.  Teachers always help teachers, but it has been magnified this year.”

“We were just trying our best to make the room look more kid-appropriate and not so scary,” Dovi said.

“Preparing for this year has been daunting, to say the least,” Martin said. She is a seasoned teacher with more than 20 years of experience.

The St. Barnabas Episcopal School community is blessed to have such creative teachers. We admire teachers around the country who are working hard to navigate this unprecedented school year to provide a safe learning experience for their students.

Beep, beep!

— Sarah McAskill is director of marketing and development at St. Barnabas Episcopal School.

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