NEW YORK CITY — With the upcoming school year quickly approaching, many New York City school teachers have been forced to buy their own personal protective equipment and school safety supplies.
Teachers told PIX11 they have not yet received anything from the Department of Education to keep them safe and healthy. Crown Heights elementary school teacher Lisa Highland said the purchases are on top of the usual ones she has to make each year.
“We have to get pencils, paper, markers and crayons for the classroom,” Highland said.
She’s taught for more than 20 years and, every year, spends hundreds of dollars of her own money on supplies for her students.
“Teacher’s choice never compensates for what we spend out of pocket, I’m not holding my breathe on the 30 day supply,” she said.
With students and teachers headed back to school in under a month, teachers across the city are searching for PPE in case the DOE fails on their 30-day supply promise.
“I remember working in pre-K when there times, we needed gloves to change Pampers,” Highland said. “We’re stocking up on supplies to take to the classroom to keep ourselves safe.”
Some teachers are even asking for donations for masks, gloves, sanitizer and thermometers on Donors Choose, GoFundMe and Amazon Wish List.
Highland has already spent over $300 on protective gear and safety supplies. She hasn’t gotten the basics like pencils, paper and crayons and markers, yet.
“We’re in it wholeheartedly and we give our all,” she said of her investment.
As NYC teachers, principals and even City Councilman and Education Chair Mark Treyger continue to call on the city to delay reopening schools for at least a month, educators like Highland are tackling COVID, one classroom at a time, hoping no one contracts the virus when the school bell rings.
DOE maintains all schools will have a 30-supply of PPE in September.
According to top educators, parents are expected to learn more about their kids’ split schedules in the coming days.