Modified Science Cart for the COVID Classroom

In this post, Dave Gervais provides useful tips for modifying a standard science equipment cart for the COVID-19 classroom.

Thanks Dave!!!!!!!!!

Rationale: In an effort to minimize student-student contact, some schools will have students remain in a classroom, while teachers move from class to class.  As a teacher moves from class to class, the need to transport equipment will be required. To reduce the transmission of droplets, a large portable plexiglass barrier may also be part of standard equipment.

Plexiglass Barrier Frame: For $40, a thin 30×32 inch plexiglass was purchased. A wooden pine frame was made from 5/8 inch planks. A table saw was used to cut the groove and a compound mitre saw cut the 45’ angles. Framing brads were used to keep the window in the frame. Alternatively, a picture frame could be purchased although the plexiglass may have to be cut to fit a standard size. Plexiglass can be cut by repeated cuts with an exacto knife.

Supports for the Frame: Two 16-inch 4×4 blocks were used to make the frame self standing. The slots were cut deep enough so that they did not require permanent attachment. This allows for it to be quickly dismantled. The plexiglass will be set up on the teacher’s desk and the teacher will teach class from behind this shield as often as possible, to keep students safe.

Figure A: Plexiglass farme and supports


Cart: The cart was purchased from a big box store and quickly assembled. It was light weight plastic with aluminium supports. A small aluminium lock box was purchased and bolted to the cart. A heavy-duty extension cord with 3 ports was purchased. A U bolt secured the neck of the outlet to the cart and plumber’s chain and screws were used to secure the ports to make them immovable.

Figure B: Science cart second shelf

The second shelf contains the secured 3 ports on the extension cord, the grey and silver lock box. The wooden 4×4 supports for the plexiglass can be seen at the back of the second shelf. The plexiglass frame has an elastic band to hold it to the cart. The bottom shelf has a small piece of wood screwed to the cart. Two large S hooks attach to this. Holes were drilled and one end of each S hook was inserted. These form an easy bottom lip to keep the plexiglass frame secure to the cart, and clear of the wheels.

Figure C: Plexiglass Attached to cart showing S hooks

This prototype cart will be used by my daughter as she navigates from class to class in September. The entire top shelf will be dedicated to her computer system. Her computer set up does not have to be unplugged from the cart. Going into a new room, she only has to plug in the cart. She keeps a 4 port USB hub in the lock box. She also has a webcam in the lock box. Note the alcohol sanitizer on the top shelf. Her cart will also have disposable gloves and a package of disposable masks

Best wishes to all those teachers as they return to school during this COVID crisis.

David Gervais

Chair STAO Safety Committee