KINGWOOD — Teachers brought information to the Preston County Board of Education Monday that indicates the disinfectants issued to them for cleaning don’t kill COVID-19.
Preston County Education Association (PCEA) President Sarah Waugh and member Cassandra Sisler also presented the results of a survey of their members. More than 80% of the 42 teachers who responded said they were uncomfortable with the amount of PPE they were given.
“I believe that everyone felt that when this school year started there would be situations, problems and things that would have to be worked out and worked through. Whoever did the research on this disinfectant pretty obviously didn’t do it wholeheartedly or they would have found out that it didn’t do something to COVID-19,” Board President Jack Keim said.
The alternative is that it was misrepresented by the seller, he said.
The board asked Assistant Superintendents Brad Martin and Ange Varner, and Superintendent Steve Wotring, to handle the situation and have an answer it by the next meeting. But they should try to resolve it before that report, Keim said. They agreed.
“We need to resolve these concerns as quickly as possible,” he said.
Wotring is out of the office this week.
The teachers presented copies of emails sent to Spartan Chemical Company, Inc., asking if Clean by Peroxy 15 and Clean By Peroxy 40, the sprays teachers were given to wipe down tables and desks, kill the COVID-19 virus. They do not, according to the company’s replies.
These products are also used to clean school buses.
“So the solution that most staff members have and were instructed to use first does not kill the coronavirus,” Waugh said.
“We’re terrified,” Sisler said, showing two towels and the spray she was given to clean tables with all week. She asked if any board member would be comfortable with her cleaning their desk with them. There were no takers.
She said Microban and Birex, a product used in hospitals, kill COVID-19.
There are other products like Lysol spray, Martin said. Sisler said several teachers share one can of Lysol at her school.
“I don’t understand how we dropped the ball,” Board Member Pam Feathers said, noting the board was told enough PPE was on hand to start school.
Keim also referred to the low number of survey respondents — 24% — who said they received enough training on use of PPE, and the only 19% who said they were told how to get more supplies.
Teachers and staff were at work for two weeks before students came to school, Keim noted.
“It was my understanding that this is the kind of stuff that was supposed to be discussed in that two-week period,” Keim said.
Sisler teaches at West Preston, where an employee tested positive for COVID-19, it was announced Monday. She and Waugh questioned if state health protocol is being followed on quarantine. The county’s policy has been reviewed by the health department.