Vineland Elementary PTO raising funds for classroom air purifiers

Reporter: Erika Jackson Writer: Jackie Winchester
Published: Updated:

One Charlotte County elementary school hopes to put an extra layer of protection in each classroom. The only problem: it’s not going to be cheap.

Shelby and Alyson Gonzales are soaking up the final days of summer before classes resume at Vineland Elementary School. This year, they’re trading their desks for a desktop computer.

“I’m a little excited that we get to stay home, but on the other side, I’m gonna miss my friends,” fourth-grader Alyson said.

“We really just want to keep everyone safe and we feel like that’s how we can do our part, by staying home until things calm down,” said Amy Gonzales, Shelby and Alyson’s mom.

It’s a difficult decision for all parents – whether to keep their kids home to send them back to school.

“They need to be back in the classrooms learning. That’s where they learn best,” said Jennifer Monna, PTO president at Vineland Elementary.

Monna is confident in the district’s increased safety plan: more cleaning, social distancing and mandated masks. But she wants to add air purifiers to areas where students congregate.

“I believe that every little thing that we do is going to help,” she said.

There are 45 classrooms at Vineland Elementary and each air purifier costs $160, so the PTO is working to raise $15,000 before the first day of school to buy one for each classroom, as well as two backup filters for each one.

“We want our children to have as much of a normal school year as possible,” Monna said.

So far, they’ve collected about $1,800.

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