The table tops around campus have recently received an addition. Dining tables now have plexiglass dividers to act as a barrier between students eating together.
These dividers first appeared in Palms Dining Hall and now are in eating areas across campus.
But how effective are these dividers when it comes to stopping the spread of COVID-19?
According to WebMD, these barriers act as another layer of protection. When eating, people generally do not have their masks on, and because of this, droplets carrying the disease are more likely to spread. With the plexiglass barrier the larger droplets are shielded. However the smaller airborne droplets can spread anywhere.
WebMD also provides research that the virus can stay on a plastic surface for up to three days. With regular cleaning, this does not pose an issue on campus.
Not all tables have plexiglass on them. What is protecting students and staff that sit at those tables?
“I think it’s a good idea to have them to keep people safe, but students are taking them down,” said Melanie McKnight, a member of the cleaning staff at the Student Union Building.
“The purpose of the plexiglass dividers is to promote safety by ensuring appropriate social distancing is maintained in the dining seating spaces,” Shannon McGee, director of auxiliary services, dining, parking & transportation said. “There is currently a high demand for plexiglass due to the pandemic, which delayed installation.” said Shannon McGee, director of auxiliary services, dining, parking & transportation. “We continue to follow the most current guidelines issued by the CDC and Georgia Public Health in maintaining the safety of our campus community.”
Some students are ambivelent about the shields.
“I know they’re there to help us, I understand that, Katherine Carpenter, a freshman psychology major said. They are a cutoff from each other,” “But it’s just something we’ll have to get used to.”
Another student sees the plexiglass as an increased way of spreading COVID-19.
“ I think it’s a weird thing to include, especially at Palms Dining,” Bethany Musselman, a freshman interior design major said. “You are back to back with people. It’s very congested. There are a lot of times when the area with the barriers is closed off with chairs, and everybody is crowded together. So it doesn’t make sense to have those.”
VSU has taken several steps to protect those on-campus during the pandemic and the plexiglass dividers are just another step that will hopefully keep VSU students safe.
Written by Gwenivere Friedman,Staff Writer. Photo courtesy of Gwenivere Friedman.