This Year, Teachers Need More School Supplies Than Ever—Here's How to Help

Educators need new tools to keep themselves and their students safe amid the COVID-19 crisis.

COVID School Supplies
Photo: Alina Buzunova/Getty Images

We've always expected a lot from our teachers, but this year, as schools across the country begin to reopen amid the coronavirus pandemic, we're expecting a lot more.

The teachers risking their lives to return to their classrooms will also require additional supplies. To help keep themselves and their students safe as the COVID-19 crisis continues, educators will need tools like disinfecting spray, hand sanitizer, masks, face shields, and protective barriers made out of cardboard or plastic. And many of them will be paying for these things out of their own pockets.

Courtney Jones, a Houston, Texas, elementary school teacher and founder of the ClearTheList Foundation, told Today Parents that teachers are making wish lists on platforms like Amazon and Donors Choose that include some novel supply requests.

"I'm seeing a lot of teachers trying to prepare for several situations," Jones said. "A lot of them are starting in school, so they're trying to prepare for that, but then they are also still trying to prepare for distance learning too because of what happened last spring."

Jones told Today that some wish lists include technology like document cameras so teachers can record their lessons. Others even include plastic shower curtains or cardboard so that teachers can make their own DIY protective barriers for their classrooms.

An additional challenge this year, sharing supplies like markers, pencils and glue sticks, will no longer be possible. If all students need to have their own sets, teachers will need more of them. Unfortunately, not all schools are able to foot that bill.

"Some districts are fully taking care of their staff and their kids, which is really awesome to see. Obviously, that's what should be happening," Jones said. "But then there's the flip side, where it's like, 'Hey, we just had $6 million cut from our math budget across the district. Sorry about that. You've got to figure it out.'"

Through Jones's ClearTheList Foundation, teachers can submit wish lists and apply for grants. Clorox recently donated $1 million to the cause.

Those looking to assist our country's brave educations can find teacher wish lists through platforms like Amazon, Donors Choose, and Adopt a Classroom. You can also make donations to ClearTheList Foundation to help fund much-needed grants.

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