WORTHINGTON — As children across the country begin to return to school, Bedford Industries in Worthington has launched two new sizes of its ElastiShield face shields to help protect them in the classroom.

The new youth-sized face shields are designed to fit children ages kindergarten through college.

“We began receiving inquiries about youth face shield sizes almost immediately after we retooled our manufacturing lines to mass produce our standard ElastiShield,” said Katie Larson, vice president of sales at Bedford. “Inquiries have continued, especially in anticipation of sending kiddos back to classrooms. We’re so thrilled to now offer what folks have been asking for.”

Production of the small/medium and medium/large face shields began July 27 — four months to the day after Bedford launched its standard-sized face shield to help meet demand for personal protective equipment in the medical arena.

“We had to do a little testing with employees' children and young adults working here to truly identify head sizes — head circumference and length to cover both the nose and mouth,” Larson shared.

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The elastomer band that holds the face shield in place comes in standard black, while a variety of color options are available when ordered in larger quantities.

“What that’s allowing people to do is get a little more creative,” Larson said, adding that school districts may want to order face shields in school colors, such as red or black for Worthington, or blue or gold for Adrian. “We can also do custom printing if you want an actual logo on there.”

The clear face shields offer protection from the forehead to below the chin, providing a physical barrier between the user and everyday contaminants like droplets from sneezes or coughs. Individual schools and workplaces may still require the wearing of face masks with the shield. An advantage to using the face shields in the classroom is that both students and teachers can see facial expressions.

The latex-free face shield is a U.S. Food & Drug Administration-registered device.

It was in late March that Bedford Industries received approval to begin manufacturing the ElastiShield after quickly going from design to development and manufacturing in less than 72 hours. Manufacturing lines that had been producing ElastiTags quickly transitioned to creating the face shields, and those same lines will manufacture the new youth-sized face shields.

“Bedford employees are moms, dads, aunts, uncles and grandparents,” said Bedford President Jay Milbrandt. “We felt an incredible sense of responsibility to equip families across the nation with the same protective tools that would make us feel more comfortable about sending the learners in our own families back to school.”

In addition to its ElastiShield product line, Bedford Industries earlier this spring redesigned its webstore platform. Products can now be ordered by the public at https://store.bedford.com. There is an in-store pick up option available when placing an order online.

Bedford Industries, with its 400 employees, manufactures and distributes tie and tag products for the produce, bakery, coffee, household and medical markets.