Lincoln schools adding lunch tables barriers to fight virus

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska’s second-largest school district is adding clear plastic barriers to school lunch tables in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, as the number of cases in the state reached nearly 36,000 and deaths from COVID-19 surpassed 400.

Lincoln Public Schools — which has about 42,000 students — plans to outfit all of its school lunchrooms with the barriers over the coming weeks, the Lincoln Journal Star reported Tuesday. That comes after the district outfitted most of its middle schools with the barriers as part of a trial run.

The district will spend up to $150,000 of federal virus funding to add the barriers in lunchrooms, said Scott Wieskamp, the district’s operations director.

“I think through our conversations with the health department and looking at how our buildings are functioning, that was probably the one area we had the most exposure,” Wieskamp said.

Since school began, the Lincoln district has reported 41 positive cases of staff, students or school visitors, but district officials say none of the cases were caused by community spread within the schools.

As of Tuesday, the state’s online virus tracker showed 35,975 confirmed coronavirus cases and 404 COVID-19 deaths.

Over the past seven days, the state averaged nearly 263 new confirmed cases a day, compared with a seven-day average of nearly 217 the week prior, according to an Associated Press analysis of data from Johns Hopkins University’s COVID-19 tracking project.

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