San Antonio teachers concerned over not having enough personal protective equipment in classrooms

State continues to distribute masks, gloves, thermometers, hand sanitizers and face shields to schools in Texas

SAN ANTONIO – Some Northside Independent School District teachers are concerned about not having enough personal protective equipment (PPE) in the classroom.

Gov. Greg Abbott pledges Texas schools will have ample supply of PPE

“We were given one face shield that has a protective film on it that we can peel off when we’re ready to use it, and then we were given one package of 80 wipes, and they are 75% alcohol. So that’s encouraging. And then at the campus that I’m at, we received an eight-ounce bottle of hand sanitizer,” said Kathryn Medendorp, NISD teacher and Northside American Federation of Teachers (NAFT) secretary.

Some teachers at Northside ISD say this is not enough PPE.

“Our administration did share with us that we can contact them and that they can give us more. I just don’t understand why we didn’t receive more upfront,” Medendorp said.

“The PPE -- some campuses have received it, some haven’t received any at all,” said Katie Curtis, NISD teacher and Middle School vice president of NAFT.

Northside ISD said it has enough PPE, and some campuses are still sorting it out.

A spokesperson for NISD said the district has delivered gloves, masks, shields, sanitizer and wipes to campuses for distribution to classrooms. The district said if teachers need more items, they should speak with their campus principal.

KSAT reached out to two other large districts to hear about their PPE plans.

San Antonio Independent School District said it provided schools with enough reusable and disposable masks for all teachers. Face shields are also being provided, and they have 81,000 gloves.

At Northeast Independent School District, each teacher is being provided a face shield and a cloth mask. The district says the items have been distributed to each campus, and teachers will receive them soon. Hand sanitizing stations have also been installed throughout the schools, and classrooms have a disinfectant solution to spray on surfaces.

With in-person classes starting soon, some teachers are not taking any chances and have purchased their own safety items.

“I took the initiative to supply myself with face shields and masks and making sure I had the appropriate hand sanitizer, handwashing (items),” Curtis said.

School districts in Texas will be required to report confirmed COVID-19 cases to the state within 24 hours.

Northside ISD said it is seeking more guidance from TEA on the process.

Next week, NISD is offering childcare for employees. The district said the children would be supervised but not instructed. The service was provided free to employees so they can return to classes.

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