Pandemic PPE costs add up
February 15, 2022
With the Omicron variant spreading rampantly, science teacher Timothy Hughes makes sure his classroom is safe by sanitizing the tables for his students every day.
“Personally, I like to double up on the surgical masks and it’s great that the school has supplied that to teachers,” Hughes said. “I always have hand sanitizer on hand and I use that between periods. I sanitize the tables once a day, the typical COVID measures. As far as COVID-related items, and safety protocol stuff, the school has provided all of it. So that’s really helpful.”
While the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) provides some masks and other safety equipment, many teachers go out of their way to buy their own items, but those don’t come cheap. With the struggles of keeping people at a safe distance for COVID-19 precautions, music teacher Wes Hambright has spent much of his money on safety items, for not only his students but for himself as well. The need for spending money on PPE recently increased due to LAUSD’s mandate requiring students and staff to wear N95 or surgical masks.
“We had just bought a bunch of masks that were, like, a buck a piece, and we bought 50 of them, and it was like, $44 for each of them. So, about $50 every two months,” Hambright said. “I think some people think they need to hoard things. I think it’s almost human nature for them to think they need to take everything instead of leaving some for the next person.”
While teachers deal with this variant, many students still have to do their part in staying safe and keeping everyone around them safe as well.
“My mom has a lot of hand sanitizer and we are also buying a lot of paper masks so that I can come to school double-masked,” junior Elizabeth Rose said. “I don’t think there’s much panic this time around because a lot of people have gotten the vaccine or the booster so I think we’re a little more prepared this time around.”