As we move closer to the start of a new school year, the ongoing pandemic remains the number one concern on the minds of our students, staff and their families.
Good hygiene, face coverings, and frequent cleaning will be essential tools to stop the spread of COVID-19. Polk County Public Schools is committed to properly supplying our schools so they can safely reopen.
We have ordered 12,000 half-gallon hand sanitizers for our classrooms, which are expected to arrive before the start of the school year. We have roughly 7,000 classrooms, and this hand sanitizer purchase will help cover all of them.
District staff and school administrators do not expect teachers to use their state allowance for classroom supplies for personal protective equipment.
Every school has been issued a stock of washable masks so we can offer every staff member and student coming to campus up to five masks. The masks are washable up to 15 times, which will give usage of 75 school days. We have an additional 155,000 masks on order.
We have also purchased 10,000 reusable face shields, which will be made available to all of our teachers and administrators. We have more than 1 million disposable gloves for use in our schools and are ordering hundreds of thousands more.
We purchased more than 280 desk shields to install in all of our schools’ front offices, where staff members interact with the public. We are exploring whether Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) funding could also be secured to provide desk shields for teachers.
Our schools will receive signage that encourages practices to help prevent the spread of illness.
Our custodial staff has plenty of supplies to keep our campuses clean and sanitary, including 1,438 gallons of concentrated disinfectant in our warehouse, which makes roughly 92,000 gallons of ready-to-use cleaning fluid.
We are installing more than 9,000 hand soap dispensers on campuses anywhere a sink can be utilized for hand washing. We have more than 22,000 containers of hand soap ready for use, and thousands more on the way.
We are installing hand sanitizing dispensers throughout all of the common areas of campuses, including cafeterias, media centers and gymnasiums. We have 12,000 containers of hand sanitizer ready to use in these dispensers. We placed an order for an additional 2,400 containers of hand sanitizer that are expected to be arrive before the school year begins.
Although we have plenty of supplies to begin the year, we understand that we must remain vigilant and continually replenish our inventory. Please be assured that we will continue to purchase soap, hand sanitizer, cleaner and other supplies so we have enough throughout the school year.
We welcome the opportunity to work with our local businesses and community stakeholders if they would like to help us manage these reoccurring costs. We appreciate their support, but it is important to stress that we will continue to invest in the necessary supplies for keeping our schools safe and clean.