PPE from TDEM to area schools while helpful, won’t be enough

Local News

TEXAS (KFDX/KJTL) — As schools try to come up with a game plan for reopening classrooms, the Texas Division of Emergency Management is working with the Texas Education Agency to distribute personal protection equipment to schools across the state.

But will there be enough?

Wichita Falls and Vernon Independent School Districts’ Superintendents Michael Kuhrt and Jeff Byrd said while they are certainly grateful for the PPE they are expected to receive from the Texas Division of Emergency Management, that is just a drop in the bucket of what would be needed when a new school year begins.

“No doubt in my mind it won’t even come close, it depends on how long we do remote instruction, it depends on how long we’re required to wear the masks,” Byrd said. “I would be shocked if 7,500 masks got us through the first six weeks of school.”

Kuhrt agreed saying the 125,000 disposable masks they should be receiving would get them through a little more than 10 days if they were to give them out to everyone, this does not include another 8,700 reusable masks, so Kuhrt said this may just have to be something parents add to their school supplies list.

“If you have ones that you are cleaning, in other words, reusable ones that you probably get five of them and that way you have one for every day and you could wash them whenever you’re not wearing them,” Kuhrt said.

And though they know this will affect their district’s budgets, they’re just sure by how much.

“We do have a general maintenance cleaning budget that we’ve set up but we haven’t figured out how quickly that’s going to have to be replaced,” Kuhrt said.

“One of the biggest issues and concerns that we have are internet access for our students at home and do we have enough Chromebooks to share with those kids so we are looking at earmarking money for those as well not just cleaning supplies,” Byrd said.

Both school district leaders said they are doing the best they can to provide what their students need.

Both Byrd and Kuhrt said there is still a lot to do regarding a plan for the new school year and they are taking it one step at a time.

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