In an effort to help some often-overlooked essential workers in our community, fellow members of my Rotary Club recently purchased 911 factory new Winix 5500-2 Air Purifiers in order to provide one to every teacher, administrator, cafeteria staff member, janitor, school bus driver, and other support personnel assigned to each of the ten individual schools within the entire Carson City School District.
Thanks in large part to an anonymous member of our community transferring nearly $135,000 to the Carson City Rotary Club’s local Foundation, this generous gift assisted our club’s purchase of Air Purifiers for each and every employee of our local school district.  These funds were directed from his ‘Donor Advised Fund’ (DAF) that he’d previously established through The Rotary Foundation.  Members of the club also made additional cash contributions to help support this worthy project.
Over two weekends in September and October, club members personally delivered air purifiers (each sporting a Rotary Club logo) to every one of the District’s 911 personnel. Recipients were invited to use the units as they felt most appropriate, either at home, in their classroom, or office.  Each unit became the personal property of the beneficiary!
Of course, these air purifiers are not necessarily intended to remove COVID-19 from the air, but much like wearing a mask, using hand sanitizers, and social distancing, these units featuring a ‘Hepa’ filtration system with ‘active wave technology’ becomes just another proactive tool in a school teacher’ arsenal to help provide their classrooms and students with the cleanest air possible. 
At Carson High School (CHS), the majority of boxed units were given out after an e-mail announcement notifying teachers that they could collect their Winix purifiers by simply signing for one. For teachers & staff who weren’t available at that time, units were set aside in each school 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 was like, ‘What! This is so cool.’ They’re taking care of us. This feels good that somebody else in the community recognizes our efforts, and it feels good.”
Rotary Club president Rachelle Resnick said this is just one of many club projects that supports our local schools.  The club, founded in 1938, has about 70 active members, according to its website,, and focuses on Rotary Youth Exchange, (RYE), Rotary Youth Leadership Academy, (RYLA), and other local music and speech programs featured at both Carson High and Carson Middle Schools.
“We always try to emphasize helping the community and this was a great way of doing that, but we’re also emphasizing helping the school teachers and the students,” Resnick said. “We honor local students every week and teachers every month. We provide various grants for different schools once a year, so this fits right into our mission of supporting education.”
“I think today is amazing,” he said on Monday, October 5th. “I think what the 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 currently 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 had also been thankful to have the new ‘fresh air’ 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’s been suffering headaches and a runny nose underneath her mask while trying to teach with the recent poor air quality created by all the recent wildfires in California, and she added that has also 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 thought I 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’re 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. I believe Carson City School District Superintendent Richard Stokes (a 12-year member of the club) sums it up best "As a Rotarian and Superintendent of our local school district, I have never been prouder when our local club elected to supply personal air purifiers for all 911 school employees.  With concerns connected with COVID-19 and the poor air quality from regional wildfires, our school personnel were genuinely moved by the generosity of our Rotary Club."