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Here's why experts say plastic barriers could be doing more harm than good

New research suggests that plastic barriers are not that effective at stopping COVID-19. In fact, they may be making some situations worse.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — At the start of this pandemic, it seemed like plastic barriers went up everywhere.

So why are some experts saying it's time to take them down? Let's connect the dots.

New research suggests that plastic barriers are not that effective at stopping COVID-19. In fact, they may be making some situations worse.

We now know the virus spreads through small particles in the air. Good airflow and ventilation can help get rid of them.

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Scientists told the New York Times those plastic barriers can actually cut off airflow in a room, trapping virus particles in concentrated areas.

RELATED: 'They sent him to school awaiting COVID results without a mask' | Positive COVID-19 case identified on the first day back for Iredell-Statesville

And those shields aren't blocking as many germs as you might think. Plastic can be great for stopping something like a cough or sneeze, but it does very little to stop the virus particles an infected person emits just by breathing.

RELATED: LIST: K-12 schools in Charlotte-area districts mask, vaccine and remote learning decisions

Those particles are going to waft over and under the barrier, often in a more concentrated way. These new findings have big implications for the school year.

In fact, a study from Johns Hopkins suggests classrooms with screens on desks actually had an increased risk of coronavirus infection.

Researchers say schools should instead focus on improving airflow, wearing masks, and encouraging vaccinations to keep COVID-19 out of the classroom.

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