BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The run on sanitation supplies is affecting public schools in Baltimore.

City teachers often feel tasked with filling supply needs in their classrooms, but with store shelves bare or limited, they’re asking administrators to do more to fill the need.

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The problem became even more evident this week when a photo taken at an elementary school in west Baltimore showed bathrooms not only without soap but also dispensers, illustrating concerns raised previously by teachers and parents.

“It’s sad that it takes a moment like this to get action, but, we believe action’s being taken,” said Zach Taylor with the Baltimore Teacher’s Union.

Taylor said teachers spend some of their own money on school supplies but now things like disinfecting wipes are out of stock.

“We need to be makings sure that, daily, these things are being checked out by school administrators. We know that teachers and PSRPs are doing their part,” he said.

District officials said supplies are ordered by administrators at individual schools but they are stepping in to fill needs.


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“We have also ordered significant additional supplies so that schools, teachers, anyone who does not have soap in their building can email the communications department,” schools CEO Sonja Santelises said.

Union leaders said they’ve asked the district to be more proactive.

“Whether it’s going bathroom-by-bathroom, making sure soap dispensers are in working condition and not just waiting until they get a report,” Taylor said.

Santelises said the schools will deploy their operations team to make sure schools have access to soap, gloves and other cleaning products.

She also added they have sanitation teams at the ready should any schools need deep cleans.

Public schools in the city and statewide will be closed from March 16 to March 27 due to COVID-19.

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For the latest information on coronavirus go to the Maryland Health Department’s website or call 211. You can find all of WJZ’s coverage on coronavirus in Maryland here.

Paul Gessler