Teacher Raises Money for Hand-Washing Station to Keep Students Safe Amid Pandemic

With schools reopening in many locations, teachers are looking at ways to ensure their students are safe.

Annette Fernandez, a third-grade teacher in Daytona Beach, Florida, knew her classroom was missing access to something crucial for maintaining health guidelines -- a sink for hand-washing.

The elementary school teacher wanted to make sure her students had close access to hand-washing to slow the spread of COVID-19.

"Today" reported that she approached her school’s principal to ask if there were any funds available for hand-washing stations. Unfortunately, there weren't, so she came up with an alternative plan.

Fernandez started a GoFundMe page to raise the money. In several hours, the educator exceeded the $1,500 that she needed for the classroom sink.

“This is the first time that I have ever done a GoFundMe so I am completely shocked!” Fernandez said. “I’m at $3,059 so I purchased another (hand-washing) station for another classroom.”

The teacher works in a portable classroom detached from the main building at Turie T. Small Elementary School in Daytona Beach, Florida.

Within the school, 12 portable classrooms do not have a bathroom. At least ten of the rooms will be used for the school year.

“I just thought about the amount of wasted instructional time I was going to need, just trying to get them to wash their hands outside of the classroom,” Fernandez added.

Any extra funds she raises will go toward getting hand-washing stations for the other portable classrooms and supplying soap, paper towels, hand sanitizer and cleaning wipes for the new sinks.

Fernandez said hand-washing is essential, especially if social distancing isn't always feasible. She said her goal was always to make sure her students felt safe.

“Hand-washing is such a basic necessity ... and it’s the number one thing to prevent the spread of COVID,” Fernandez said. “The most important thing is that these kids get what they need.”

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