Windermere Prep recently donated thousands of masks and gloves to Orlando Health.
| 2:45 p.m. April 22, 2020
At Windermere Preparatory School, Dana Conroy — the school’s nurse and administrative assistant — sees a lot of students for a variety of things.
Once the coronavirus arrived, however, the campus fell silent, and Conroy found her attention shifting to develop ideas to help in any way she could. It was the natural response of an individual who has been in the nursing profession for 27 years.
“My background is in emergency room nursing, so as soon as this all happened and we went virtual, (I) as a nurse was all about, ‘What can I do?’ — I can’t just sit back and not help,” Conroy said. “Because I’m still working full time at Windermere Prep, I couldn’t volunteer myself or give commitments to help in hospitals or testing centers, so the next thing was, ‘What can we do to facilitate donations and drives?’”
Conroy realized the middle and high school science labs had a large number of eyewear and personal protective equipment. In fact, there were thousands of items — including goggles, gloves and masks — just sitting there, not being used.
With hospitals in dire need of PPE — Conroy had been told that Orlando Health had burned through five months of supplies in less than a week — the logical next step was to reach out to hospitals to get them the equipment.
“It happened really quickly,” Conroy said. “Then it was just a matter of asking teachers — and administrative approval — and then my husband and I went through every science lab and science teacher classroom and cleaned out any kind of goggles, face shields or gloves that we could find.”
Through a contact she had made, the equipment was donated to Orlando Health, where — after being sterilized — it is being used by the respiratory therapists in the ICU.
Along with the donated equipment, Conroy also has been running a blog with coronavirus health tips. It’s been a useful tool for many people in the community, said the school’s marketing manager, Summer Simmons.
“Each week, she has been sending out to the Windermere families little flyers and different things on how you wear a face mask and how you can make a face mask at home,” Simmons said. “It’s really great having her as a resource. It’s nice, because she is super involved in all of this.”
TUITION PRICES FROZEN, MEALS DELIVERED TO STAFF
The donation of PPE to Orlando Health was the latest in Windermere Prep’s efforts to help the community during the coronavirus pandemic, but the school also has announced other changes to assist its community.
The school is freezing the tuition for the 2020-21 school year at the 2019-20 pricing.
“Each year, there’s a certain percentage that it will raise, but they decided this year — for the 2020-21 school year — there will be no increase in tuition to offer a little something for our families,” Simmons said. “Right now, we know times are tight, and there is no certainty of what is going to happen, so we are trying to make it easier for our families.”
Furthermore, the school also has been delivering food weekly to the teachers and staff at their homes. It helps not only those families but also the school’s catering company, Flik.
“We’re trying to take one thing off of their plate, and in doing so that one night, they don’t have to worry about making dinner,” Simmons said of the staff. “And then the other thing is that Flik is the company we use for school lunches. If we weren’t using them, then they would have all this food they had pre-ordered that would go to waste — then they would have to let some of their staff go. So by us using them for these meals, they are able to keep their staff working … so it’s helping the community, too.”