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ESPs and other frontline educators need PPE

“We have used the district’s funds for PPE, when they could’ve been used for more meals and technology,” said Vanessa Jiminez, an education support professional in Phoenix, Arizona, at an NEA teletown hall on May 7 with Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer and Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT). As part of the next COVID-19 legislative package, NEA is seeking at least $56 million for personal protective equipment (PPE) for education support professionals and educators in direct contact with students. These professionals are continuing to prepare and distribute meals; clean, maintain, and secure school buildings; oversee technology needs; and perform other vital work during the pandemic. They should be considered frontline workers whose jobs are essential, and that means having PPE to protect themselves, as well as their families and communities, from infection.  


Email your members of Congress and tell them the next COVID-19 bill should include at least $56 million for PPE for educators.

26 responses to “ESPs and other frontline educators need PPE

  1. It is truly disheartening for educators who have an underlining health issue to be placed on the back burner with no true protocol set in place to assure our safety or positions as teachers.

    1. I agree. I have asked and asked…kids in two weeks and no PPE…no guidance…pressure to perform unsafe tasks…

  2. I’ve been very disheartened by a lot of the discussions occurring in reference to returning to schools in the fall. Mostly because, the mention of teachers and staff at schools has been largely breezed over and in some cases, absent. To ask us to be in schools ready to teach and not provide the necessary precautions to ensure our safety is not only incompetent and bereft of the easily accessible knowledge and guidance available; but it is cruel and denotes a level of disregard for the well-being of teachers. We all want and know that kids should be back in schools, but we do not want to risk our own safety. PLEASE provide the PPE and standards that are necessary for us to return to schools safely!

  3. As vital members of the community, school system personnel serve the entire nation through intensive time with learners. This begins and ends with transportation personnel each day, continues through our food service experts in schools, and then transfers to educators of all levels and duties.

    The COVID19 pandemic has everyone at risk, no matter each person’s beliefs on this disease and how it spreads and to whom. We are contracted to protect students in a variety of situations- now including helping keep them safe from this often-fatal, unbiased virus.

    To be able to conduct teaching and learning, supplemented by other services for students, contact is expected- even if from 6-feet apart. Not only will we, employees, be putting students and their families at risk of exposure, we, ourselves, will possibly be subjected to virulent germs- thereby posing a risk for our families as well.

    There is no avoiding having to deal with COVID19, but how we proceed is within our control. If we do go back to in-class instruction, the safest of practices must be intact and upheld by all involved. This will be a set of huge obstacles, especially in districts that may not have proper or advised personal protective equipment items. If school personnel are required to return, we should be provided adequate PPE.

    As stated, some school systems may have greater challenges than others- whether this be due to greater numbers of cases or could be based on socio-economic factors that disallow individuals from procuring their own items.

    If required to be in-person, it is necessary for everyone to stay healthy and safe. We will need assistance to meet this goal. I am terrified to know how easily the virus spreads, on top of personal choices others make that could negatively impact or endanger our nation’s youth and contributing education employees.

    Please, consider equipping schools with, at least, basic materials to keep everyone safe. When I say basic, I still mean plentiful supplies for each area of the building. These should include specifically masks, non-latex gloves of various sizes, pump hand sanitizer, tissues (like Kleenex), cleaning supplies (wipes, cleansers that specifically eliminate virus and bacteria germs), and wipes for hands (like baby wipes or alcohol prep pads). There may be other items needed, like a non-contact thermometer for each classroom or area.

    I know this will be expensive, and the local, state, and federal budgets will have to be amended to allocate funding for these and other necessary and preventative measures. Even still, it is our combined duty, and more so, our combined moral imperative to do all we can to prevent the spread of COVID19.

    Please hear my voice and those of other concerned members of our communities. I am scared, but I want to serve students. To do so, however, could put everyone in my school at risk. You can help minimize this health and safety threat by providing all employees with items to keep us, our families, our students, and our communities at-large safer.

    I offer my service to you in any ways I can help make this request be approved and executed. Please contact me if I can work now to prepare schools for the fall term.

    Thank you!
    Elizabeth Kennedy
    Forsyth County Schools

    1. Thank you Ms. Kennedy for writing this. I am a first grade teacher for 20 years with an underlying health condition. I am worried and scared for myself, fellow teachers, and especially my very young students. I just read my principal’s e-mail about returning to school 5 days a week, face to face instruction. No mention of providing PPE.

      1. My district is also only giving 2 options: regular in person where kids are NOT required to wear masks or online. And we are being threatened with being fired for not coming to work and not wearing OUR MASKS. We have a very old building with no central air and no proper ventilation system and most of our rooms are very small. No possible way to get 2 feet between kids let alone 6. WHAT IS THE NEA DOING TO PROTECT US????

  4. First of all, I wish the language K-12 will change to PreK-12. I’ve been working for a Preschool Program (Head Start) as Family Service Worker for 20+ yrs. Due to a part of my role and responsibility, I am considered an Essential Front-line Worker for 12 months, not 10 months out the year. Without Recruiting for Families and Parents applying for the program, teachers will not have students. My role, the first stage of the process, is to interview parents face-to-face and review income documentation to determine eligibility.
    With this pandemic, we are definitely the workers that need PPE to keep ourselves safe.
    Please support and stand with ALL Staff memebers, not just teachers. Thanks

  5. There are indeed many challenges about HOW to teach students in the fall. And, equally important is WHAT we will teach them. Not only will teachers and students have mental health needs, but we have a unique opportunity now to place this pandemic in a larger context.

    All students, K-12, in an age appropriate way, deserve to learn how this pandemic fits in with climate action and our role and relationship to the natural world. Retired teachers and local scientists can help do this if they are mobilized.

    Thank you,
    Tiffany Boyd
    Classrooms for Climate Action

  6. As a driver of a school bus and an ESP, we desperately need PPEs to keep ourselves and our student, teachers, and para’s all safe. So please stand with us on this to keep each other safe. Things will never be the way it was in February 2020.

  7. I am writing to express my frustration and concern with the additional work being put on us with these SWD remote learning plans. Throughout this closure we have been repeatedly ask and reported this information and it is completely redundant.
    It is concerning that teachers keep baring the responsibility to implement curriculum, communicate daily with students and families as well as attend PD that has been irrelevant and time consuming. The Sail teachers have been logging an average of 38 hours a week and that is a very conservative number. We all have been providing curriculum that is related to IEP goals, sending home learning packets since the majority of our students cannot access internet due to technology needs and lack of skills needed. We have been printing and mailing materials to the families to help give them learning opportunities on our own expense. We have been holding multiple zoom lessons each week to provide various opportunities for the students.
    Adding these plans just adds another level of stress when we have been going above and beyond to accommodate the students and their families. We all have families to that need attending to. We are meeting the needs as best as we can.
    Please bring these concerns as well as the many others to the discussions. Everyone’s mental health and well being should come first.

    1. Its been a difficult task but we’re almost to the finish line. More importantly all members should not have to be concerned with PPE supplies. These items should be fully funded by the government. Proactive plans must be put in place.

  8. How about the teachers teach the kids to make protective masks….very simple and effective. They can make hand sanitizer. Lets be more self sufficient and not always rely on the government.
    The devices that kids need to work from home on the internet…how about getting Bill Gates to make sure all kids get one, instead of funding the communist China virus program. Lets get real here.

    1. The government has the job to protect every person in the USA not the teachers to teach child labor skills! Bill Gates is an angel in all he does for charity so the results with working with all countries and their experts is helping each person in the USA to find a vaccine. What did you do?

    2. I nominate you, Bob, to spearhead the sanitizer production and to organize a system for making the protective masks. Please forward a suitable pattern for the masks and a list of suppliers for materials. I am sure you also have ideas of how each school is to secure funding for these materials, not just for the masks, but for the sanitizer as well. This is such a great idea, I look forward to hearing your progress on this plan.
      PS. Please tell Bill Gates, I said, Hi and let me know when we should expect the first shipment of laptops.

  9. As a retired 40 year career high school teacher, now as serving as a 5 year Special Ed bus driver, I have been given the opportunity to view the public education process from a different perspective. The custodians, maintenance persons, aides, secretaries, bookkeepers, bus drivers, monitors, SROs, nurses, teachers, and administrators are some of the most humble and caring people I have had the honor of working with. Also as an Honorably Discharged vet, I see this group exhibit the spirit of “Duty, Honor, Country” such as I saw in the military from the lowly Private up through the ranks of leadership. I salute these unsung heros.

  10. Who educates our children? Who spends more than 8 hours a day working to give our children the tools they need to survive in this world? Who else gives their hearts and souls and often their money to see that our children can read, write and learn to share with each other? TEACHERS!!!! They are the backbone of our world and never treated with the respect or money they certainly deserve! WE ARE FAILING OUR TEACHERS!!! WE ARE FAILING OUR CHILDREN AND OUR FUTURE!!! ( I am not a teacher, I just know their value!)

  11. We should should show respect for teachers and everyone working with/for students and their wellbeing the way it is shown in other countries. Some of the money that has always gone to big business should now go to everyone in need. The money should not be going to DeVos. We reap what we sow.

    1. Devos having come from wealth does not know or care for the people who had to work hard to make ends meet. All those who are in office only for their own benefit need to be ousted. We need to go back to of the people by the people.

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