Image for post
Image for post

This week I saw photos of special education teachers making PPE, specifically, protective face shields out of Velcro strips and laminate sheets. The photos were sent to me from a teacher who works at a very expensive private school in Manhattan for students with Autism Spectrum Disorder. A teacher reported to me that the water fountains were removed — when the teacher asked why he/she was told, “students put their mouths on them, so they were taken out to stop the spread of saliva.” No follow up plan mentioning how to provide staff and students with water throughout the day was discussed. Teachers at this school, like most schools across New York City, were promised a return to school under the guise of proper PPE and updated safety protocols. At this particular school, PPE was missing along with HEPA filtered air cleaners, warm or hot water. The hand sanitizer offered contains 60% alcohol despite the CDC recommending alcohol content of at least 75%. It was reported that during the first week back, teachers tested thermometers which were malfunctioning; reading between 87 and 91 degrees making it impossible to trace or know if exposures have already taken place. Lacking basic safety, teachers are scrambling to come up with their own creative means, which is something they are accustomed to doing. Fears are circulating throughout the school about safety, but also about retaliation from leadership for speaking out. Management has told teachers who are not eligible for medical or childcare leave to walk (quit*) if they don’t like what is going on; leaving teachers to choose between safety and job security. …

Samantha Mann

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store