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New sneezeguard business created to help with pandemic

Right from the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Helen Qiu, owner of Rainbow Childhood Development Center in Milpitas, felt deeply called to act. 

It started out with sewing face masks for people in the community. She spent hours each day making the masks, and soon became a key part of the Rainbow Mask Brigade, providing masks to healthcare workers and anyone else who needed them across the community. 

After shelter-in-place went into effect in March, Qiu had to shut down her busy childhood development center. But during the time when the center was closed, Qiu started to prepare to reopen. She made calls, often daily, to the child care licensing department to discover how “the new normal” might look when she opened in the future. As she took in the guidelines requiring teachers to wear face coverings, limiting the amount of children per classroom, and ensuring that children practiced social distancing, Qiu wanted to do more. 

She soon got the idea of installing sneeze guards at all the desks, so that the children would be even more protected. But when she did a little research, she discovered that the prices to buy sneeze guards and get them installed were sky-high. And the first ones who actually made the product were located as far away as China. 

So Qiu began looking into the materials, as she’d started to entertain the possibility of making the sneeze guards herself. 

Within days, she hired someone to help her design the product. Then once it was designed, it took just a couple more days to install it at four tables in Qiu’s center. 

Qiu started opening the doors of her center to families back in June. Since then, she has had the sneeze guards installed in her classrooms. And as she saw just how effective they were, the wheels started turning in her head yet again… 

“I thought, This is a good opportunity and I can help local businesses and schools,” said Qiu. “It’s good for them to have this…”

So she started reaching out to businesses and schools. Thus far, two Montessori preschools—one in San Jose and one in Sunnyvale—have ordered the sneeze guards and had them installed in their classrooms. 

Qiu’s new company, Rainbow Shield, offers custom sneeze guards made to fit in any area or location of any school or business. They also handle the installation of the product. And Qiu also noted that whereas deliveries from other companies might take up to one month, Rainbow Shield—in addition to offering affordable prices—can have a sneeze guard created and installed within a couple of days. 

More details on Qiu’s new company are available here: https://www.rainbowshieldprotectionproducts.com


Rhoda Shapiro
Rhoda Shapiro is the winner of a 2022 Golden Quill Award for her Education journalism. She works as a journalist and media consultant in the Bay Area. She has written for both the Tri-City Voice and the Mercury News, and is the founder of Chi Media Company, which works mostly with nonprofit organizations and educational entities to elevate their marketing and communication platforms. Rhoda is also the author of “Fierce Woman: Wake up your Badass Self” and “Magic Within: Womb-Centered Wisdom to Realize the Power of Your Sacred Feminine Self.” Her YouTube channel features practices in yoga, meditation, and women’s empowerment. Rhoda is The Milpitas Beat’s Founder and Editor-in-Chief.

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