Schools reckon with PPE costs

Jun 19, 2020

Plans for the fall are still up in the air, reported Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kimberly Shaver-Hood at Thursday night’s school committee meeting.

The state’s Education Commissioner is expected to release specific guidance soon.

In the meantime, Shaver-Hood said, committees on both the school and district level composed of teachers, staff, paraprofessionals, and custodians, among others, to talk about what the next school year may look like. Surveys have also been sent out to every parent in the district.

The state has released guidance on the personal protective equipment and supplies that schools are expected to have on hand, including ⅓ gallon of hand sanitizer per classroom per week.

School Committee member Apryl Rossi said that those supplies will be expensive, especially given that schools across the state are dealing with tighter budgets.
“That was one reason why we received the covid-19 money,” Shaver-Hood said.

The district received $500,000 in federal aid to mitigate the effects of covid-19. Last week, the School Committee voted to spend all of that money on staffing in an effort to retain staff members.

Shaver-Hood said that there is no money in the budget for supplies. Cleaning supplies and PPE including gowns, face-shields, and masks have taken up that money.

The committee members asked whether the federal funds could be reallocated to supplies, but Shaver-Hood said that she has already begun to bring staff members back who had been laid off. If the funds were reallocated, she would have to lay those staff members off again.