New Cumberland County teachers get free school supplies, discuss safety in schools

CUMBERLAND COUNTY, N.C. (WTVD) -- Cumberland County Schools set up a teacher store in Fayetteville, where first-year educators with less than six months of experience could get 10 free items until Aug. 13.

"It was really refreshing to see all of this stuff that you would have to buy on your own," said Hunter Cole, who will teach at Jack Britt High School.

New teachers are assigned specific dates and times they could go there to get their free items.

ABC11 had a chance to talk to these new teachers about safety as COVID-19 cases among children spread.

The American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children's Hospital Association found nearly 94,000 new child COVID-19 cases were reported last week, a substantial increase.

Jessica West will teach first grade at Alma Easom Elementary. She said she had no idea what she'd be walking into her first year.

"There's always a little bit of nervousness about it but at some point in time you just kind of have to put your nerves aside and just go for it and take those precautions," West said. "Wear your mask, stay distant but at the end of the day, I need to be in there with my students and they need to be in the classroom too."

Cole taught virtually starting in January and will teach in person starting at the end of the month.

"I feel pretty prepared, at least the best you can be, you can kind of just take it as it comes," Cole said. "You follow the CDC guidance, maintain six feet, wash your hands, sanitize the desks. We get provided disinfectant and spray so in between every class we wipe down the seats and tables and all that."

Dr. Ashish Jha, Dean of the Brown University School of Public Health, detailed a five point strategy to get kids back to school safely, on Good Morning America.

  • Vaccinate everyone who is eligible and around kids in schools


  • Upgrade ventilation


  • Testing


  • Masking


  • Avoid super crowded events


Lindsay Whitley, Cumberland County Schools Associate Superintendent for Communications and Community Engagement, said this aligns with the guidance they're following from the CDC and local and state health officials.

Doctor shares 5-point COVID strategy for getting kids back to school safely

"We're very much encouraging folks who are eligible to get vaccinated to do it," Whitley said. "We're urging them to do so because we believe that that will keep our students, staff members and our families safe, as well as social distancing. We understand the importance that when we combine all of these things-masking, vaccinations, social distancing, if you're not feeling well, stay home. That will help us beat COVID-19."

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