SC company rolling out face shields to schools across the country

Updated: Jul. 6, 2020 at 11:06 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - In an effort to give schools one more option to reopen safely, a Columbia-based manufacturing company is rolling out face shields for children.

Since March, ZVerse has become one of the largest face shield manufacturers in the country and has designed face shields for healthcare and service industry workers. Now, they’re working to help schools and universities.

ZVerse says its shields are more comfortable than cloth masks and are also less restrictive for breathing. The plastic visor has the ability to flex downward without having to touch your face, so the company believes this will make it easier for kids and teachers during snack and lunch breaks.

ZVerse says it’s already sending its three different models, including the new ZShield Youth, to hundreds of schools across the country, including schools in the Midlands. The Hammond School in Columbia, Northside Christian Academy in Lexington, and Columbia Arts Academy are already incorporating the face shields into their reopening plans. The University of South Carolina has also purchased the shields for faculty.

Unlike cloth masks, the shields allow children with disabilities and English language learners to see their teacher’s facial expressions.

“We get hundreds of messages every day, many from adults that may have respiratory issues or some condition that masks are challenging for them, but really from many parents whose child may have a condition where there is a learning disability or they are hearing impaired or they’re learning new languages, and they’re really concerned about their child being left behind if their teachers are wearing masks for the school day,” said ZVerse founder and CEO John Carrington.

In the coming weeks, ZVerse says it will be producing 100,000 of its face shields a day for the service industry and schools. The shields can be cleaned in the dishwasher or with soap and water, and they’re durable, so the company says they should last the entire school year.

“We’re providing a solution. It’s not the only solution, but today, we have to innovate to solve some really major challenges, so we’re trying to be part of the solution,” Carrington explained.

Just last week, the CDC revised its guidance on face shields, saying if you choose to wear one without a cloth mask underneath, it should wrap around the sides of your face and extend below your chin. ZVerse’s new shield, the ZShield Wrap, adheres to these recommendations.

It is not known if face shields provide any benefit as source control to protect others from the spray of respiratory particles. The CDC does not recommend use of face shields for normal everyday activities or as a substitute for cloth face coverings.

The ZShield youth is available for pre-order and sells for $18.99, and the ZShield Wrap for adults costs $22.99, but the company is offering discounted pricing to educational institutions. You can order one by clicking this link.

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