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Despite COVID-19 educators risk their lives for students, ESP of the Year says

In Kentucky alone, two ESPs, both bus drivers, have passed away since school buildings closed. In North Carolina, three others have passed away from the virus. “I hate that it took a dedicated member’s life to open others’ eyes,” said Matthew Powell, NEA’s 2019 ESP of the Year. “When you have stories about ESPs still fighting for our students, risking their own lives to meet the needs of every child, that really sticks out.”

Educators know it will take ongoing advocacy to secure personal protective equipment (PPE) and implement other safety measures that meet Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) standards for teachers and support professionals, whose duties vary widely. NEA is seeking directed funding for PPE for educators, including—and especially—the support professionals who continue to prepare and distribute meals; clean, maintain, and secure school buildings; oversee technology needs; and perform other vital work during the coronavirus pandemic.


Email your senators and tell them the next COVID-19 bill should include at least $56 million in directed funding for PPE for educators.

9 responses to “Despite COVID-19 educators risk their lives for students, ESP of the Year says

  1. In the fall and I say fall since we are going for the reopening in Aug, We will be going back to a new normal. What that is will be any ones guess. We may know what that is, we may think we know what that is. There will be the unknown circumstances that will arise.

    Today we are still in the infancy of this tragic virus and it has taken lives from all over the world. The small picture are those in our field… The picture has grown just with in our field.. keep in mind as we continue to fight the virus, we are asking those in a position of strength and power to remember the risk of us all Bus drivers, Food workers, Custodians, Administration, and our students stay at risk.

    The question is will we be protected when we enter a full time position that has called us to be up close and in the line of fire of this virus.
    I look back and see the past protection, I ask myself, Was what we had before this pandemic enough to keep us from being sick and out of work before? When you answer this question continue to think further. Were the supplies efficient, were we protected with the highest amount of respect in order to continue to safely in our positions?

    Today we are safe in our homes and with the comfort of following the CDC guidelines we will remain that way.. But can we say the same when we go back to work?

    Take a few moments to share your concerns along with asking for support for all us educators to be respected physically, emotionally, and financially..

    Thanks so much for being there with us on the front lines and supporting the one next to you. 😊😉😘

  2. I have worked for over 40ty years with the ESE population, it was difficult to stay bacteria free before the Covid 19. I have worked with all ages from 2 year to 21 year old. Today I work with elementary students..
    With gloves , hand sanitizer, constant cleansing , with wiping our selves ,wiping surfaces, wiping the student, spraying, changing gloves, repeating this same process..is what we do on a daily, student to student , moment to moment biases..
    Did I mention the wiping of noses, drooling saliva, and changing of soiled diapers and clothing. With all the precautions we do take now at the expense of our health we still become sick and loose out do to flue, colds and excessive exposure to all bacteria and viral air droplets.
    I have a special office you would find me in on a daily basis.. The staff knows where I would be if not in the classroom , at specials, or late for my own break or lunch.

    Our students come first with everyone who takes our job. Do we do it for the money and exposure to bacteria.. No we enjoy making a difference, we see what is needed and pursue it. We put our selves on the front lines on a moment to moment basis. Esp’s and all educational staff do this consistently.

    Our salary does not cover the protection gear , sanitizer, mask , gloves, face shields that we are now going to need to wear.. As I said before .. We were exposed to it prior to March 13th, 2020. I became sick January 18th, stayed home till the 28th of January.. To find out later it may have been more than just the typical flue, I was told I had influenza A…. I was extremely sick and latter heard the same symptoms to be part of the Covid symptoms.

    Going back to work I wore a mask for the next 4 days, sanitized, wore gloves and all the above. Being mindful I had never been the run down and fatigued in over 40 years when I had gotten sick with the Hong Kong flue while working with the same population.

    I am 68 today I was ready to retire in August until the Pandemic, I have decided to go back to work to support the the students to adjust to our new normal, as well as the staff.

    I believe more than the general has to occur when going back to working with our population.. I personally have purchased 50 new masks along with 4 splash fields… I will be prepared to reenter the work field when schools open.

    Did I mention my office was and is the class restroom, My name is above the door..
    I stand firm that we will need the extra training , protection to reenter our positions. or we will be lost with out the support of staff that may not return , either through death or moving onto different jobs.

    Thank you for putting our safety first…

  3. The next COVID-19 bill should include at least $56 million in directed funding for PPE for educators.

    1. Of course, these courageous educatiors will need all the protection we can give them–teaching in a sea of young people–some of whom may well be infected with the virus but displaying no symptoms.

    1. I am so disappointed in the government REPUBLICANS and wonder what ever happened to checks and balances.

  4. The oversight of the spending of the taxpayer money to help citizens seems to have been a missmash of things, where in to many rich people and companies have gotten preference over the little guy. It appears that the favorites of the WH may have received too much, when they should not have received any. A little guy with a store in a neighborhood with only a few employees, or none than the actual owner, still received nothing. It was an emergency to get these funds out, but it seems perhaps too fast was it dispensed without proper investigation and oversight. But that seems to be trait with this administration…shoot first ask questions later and ignore the ones that really need it. Maye a bit harsh, but the bottom line, not enough of the really struggling people received the money.

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