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How two local companies are bringing extra protection to WNY schools

Working to get schools to max capacity
Plexiglass dividers are becoming the norm at schools nationwide
Posted at 5:53 AM, Mar 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-25 05:53:41-04

CHEEKTOWAGA, N.Y. (WKBW) — You see them in grocery stores and salons. Plexiglass shields are popping up everywhere and one local company is helping get them into several school districts here in WNY.

"It provides an extra level of protection," said Tony Franjoine, Partner at Stohl Environmental.

Stohl Environmental, based in Orchard Park has been working with WNY school districts for 33 years.

“Many of our school districts needed a solution to keep students in school or bring them back," said Franjoine.

So they went to USA Sealing, a local manufacturer in Cheektowaga where they make these.

Plexiglass dividers are becoming the norm at schools nationwide
Plexiglass dividers are becoming the norm at schools nationwide

“It kind of forms a mini cubicle for children, it gives them a degree of normalcy, gives them some freedom to move around," said Pete Smith, Executive Director at USA Sealing.

USA Sealing sold millions in sales for these dividers all over the country.

"We’re probably the biggest provider of these for school districts across the nation," said Smith.

Locally, Stohl Environmental is working to get them in dozens of schools.

Buffalo Public Schools, Lancaster, Orchard Park, up into the Northtowns, down into the Southern Tier, southwestern schools, Jamestown schools," said Franjoine.

And with the CDC’s new guidance, changing recommendations from 6 feet to 3 feet of social distance in schools, they’re seeing a surge in requests.

"Because a lot of districts that have been remote are trying to bring all of their students back full time," said Franjoine.

Districts hope this could speed up the process of getting back to max capacity.

75% of the dividers made at USA Sealing are customized, according to Smith. And prices vary based on what customers need and want.

USA Sealing makes custom plexiglass designs based on customers' needs
USA Sealing makes custom plexiglass designs based on customers' needs

"People can do something simple that sits on the desk that’s on average $20 and it can go all the way up to $450 if you’re doing something that’s 6 feet tall," said Smith.

Stohl Environmental goes out to schools to measure and lets USA Sealing know what a school needs. And because they’re local, schools can get them pretty fast.

"The time between when they pickup the phone and call us to when they have dividers in their schools could be as little as a week," said Franjoine.

First grocery stores, now in schools nationwide and next, maybe your office. Smith says this locally made product could be the look of the future.

"As people look to return to the work space, we think it’s gonna be a big trend," said Smith.

School districts can call Stohl Environmental at (716) 312-0070. You can visit their website or the USA Sealing website for more information. These companies can also help you get dividers for your car, air purifiers and more.