An anonymous local donor supplied the funds for the Rotary Club of Carson City to purchase more than 800 air purifiers for teachers and staff members of the Carson City School District for use in their classroom or home.
Club members then distributed them on Monday to Carson City schools for teachers to pick up and unbox in their classroom or take home, and the staff members were deeply grateful to carry off their unexpected incentive.
At Carson High School, the majority of boxes were given out after an e-mail announcement and teachers were notified that they could collect their Winix purifiers by signing for it. For teachers who weren’t available at that time, they would be put aside in the principal’s office for pickup later.
CHS math teacher Monica Flinchum, who also teaches multiple sections of English as a Second Language and is a National Honor Society adviser, was excited that the community would support her and the staff, she said.
“This is a thoughtful gesture from the Rotary Club, so we’re really, really appreciative, and I’m appreciative,” she said. “I open up my e-mail (announcing the purifiers), and I’m like, ‘What! This is cool.’ They’re taking care of us. This feels good that somebody else in the community is recognizing our efforts, and it feels good.”
Rotary Club president Rachelle Resnick said the anonymous donation supports the club’s activities well. The organization, founded in 1938, has about 70 members, according to its website, www.carsonrotary.org, and focuses on the Rotary Youth Exchange, Rotary Youth Leadership Academy and other school district music programs at Carson High School and Carson Middle School.
“We always try to emphasize helping the community and this was a great way of doing that, but we also emphasizing helping the school teachers and the teachers and the students,” Resnick said. “We honor students every week. We honor teachers. We have grants for different schools once a year, and so this fits rights into our mission.”
CHS principal Bob Chambers said the community’s willingness to assist and support schoolteachers during this time is “super generous.”
“I think today is amazing,” he said Monday. “I think what Rotary Club of Carson City is providing for our teachers is such a wonderful gift. I think it shows their understanding of what our teachers are going through, specifically within the classroom and just the health concerns that everyone has when you put all these teachers and students together in a building.”
Precalculus and trigonometry teacher Shanell Cavener also was thankful to have the new supply in her classroom and demonstrated unboxing the purifier in her room, which activated immediately and quietly once she plugged it into an outlet.
Cavener said she has been suffering headaches and a runny nose underneath her mask while trying to teach with the recent poor air quality, and she added that has also has presented challenges trying to assist her students.
“It’s a really good show of support for us and it’s going to help us out a lot in the classrooms, especially with all the smoke and everything and all the allergies,” she said. “It’s really nice to feel like we’re appreciated.”
“It’s been a little stressful,” she said. “We’re completely changing the way we do things around here. I’m changing to a flipped classroom model, which is not something I ever though it would do. I’m missing that interaction with my students, so we’re kind of working out the kinks.”
Resnick said the purifiers are meant to help bring some peace of mind to the teachers, and while it’s not certain whether they are completely effective in the fight against the coronavirus, they will be helpful in providing cleaner air in the classrooms from any lingering smoke from area wildfires.
Chambers added in recent weeks, administrators and staff members couldn’t have been prepared for these outside factors that added to the state’s poor air quality.
“The smoke has been a wrinkle that it was such a momentum killer for us,” Chambers said. “We felt like we understood the system, and then the smoke rolled into the valley. I think everybody was disappointed, and there was absolutely no one to blame.
“But our teachers are resilient, the students are resilient and we bounce back,” he said. “And we’re back on track, we have a better understanding of exactly what we need to do because whether it’s a smoke day or a snow day, we have a better plan in place now to make sure everything’s in digital.”