SOUTHWEST Fla. – Teachers and students are getting ready to start the first day of school, but this year is different than others because of COVID-19.

“We had a slight conversation about nerves and going back to school. My sister’s husband is a teacher, I’m a teacher, my husband is a teacher. We were discussing what can we do just for our family so that we feel prepared,” school teacher and Cape Coral resident Allison McCarraher said.

McCarraher and her sister Casey McCarthy decided to raise money for air purifiers and install one inside a school classroom.

“We started talking about HEPA filters. Casey sent a text and said listen instead of taking this out of your own pocket, why don’t we fundraiser with family and friends and we’ll see if we can get you three HEPA filters,” McCarraher said.

Family and friends started spreading the word on social media about how people can help and they surpassed their goal and have reached more than $9,000.

“When we had more funds we went ok, who do we know that are teachers that might like this for their classrooms as well. The funds continued to grow and here we are, 170 teachers later that want a HEPA filter for the classroom,” McCarraher said. “We had no intention of it becoming kinda what it is now.”

Both sisters said they know first hand how much teachers spend out of their own money for school supplies, as well as cleaning supplies.

“There’s been a lot of teachers with health conditions that they’re nervous, or family members with health conditions that they’re afraid to bring this home to,” McCarthy said. “I was really worried about all of them going back and I wanted to something to feel like I was going to protect them, especially my loved ones.”

McCarraher said they’re doing this to try and help.

“We can’t control what’s going to happen when we go back, but we can prevent and hopefully reduce the risk,” McCarraher said.

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