DIY modular protective pods that turn into shelving post pandemic

KELOLAND Living Newsletter

As we head back into the school year, our educators are doing everything they can to keep our children healthy and our schools open. That includes asking teachers to create protective pods for students’ desks. And while many schools are providing specific supplies to teachers, we thought it would be fun to show you a design that can be reconfigured into something usable after this pandemic is finally behind us. Ashley’s husband Keith Thompson joined us in the studio today to show us how to build the modular protective pod system that his architecture firm, Koch Hazard Architects, designed.

Supplies per table (two students):

  • 4×4 construction lumbar (cut to 18 inch lengths)
  • 3 sheets of standard clear acrylic – 18″x24″ (for desks or tables with more or less students – adjust as needed – see designs below)
  • Clear silicone
Protective Pods set up in Lindy Bell’s classroom at Patrick Henry


  1. Cut the construction lumber to 18″ (the height of the acrylic).
  2. Run each post through a table saw to create a kerf (or slot for the acrylic to slide into) on each of the 4 sides.
  3. Set the post up on the table or desk and slide the acrylic through the necessary slots to create the modular pod needed for your situation. Examples of different configurations below.
  4. Use clear silicone to secure the acrylic in the slots.
kerfs on each of the 4 sides to create slots for the acrylic to slide into

Configuration examples:

Modular shelving reconfiguration:

When the pandemic is over, these protective pods can be turned into shelving units by simply changing the configuration of the posts and acrylic. Here are a few examples:

To contact someone at Koch Hazard Architects visit their website at

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