School districts in Central Texas stocking up on masks, other PPE for return to classrooms

Set for School

CENTRAL TEXAS (KXAN) — The Texas Education Agency sent millions of masks to school districts across the state to prepare them for when students return to classrooms.

Here in Central Texas, while many school districts begin the year online, some districts are stocking up on personal protective equipment, or PPE, to get ready for when classes resume in person.

Pflugerville Independent School District started online classes Thursday, but in a few weeks, they could have some students returning to the classroom.

“We are confident that our staff and teachers are going to rise to the challenge and make sure we have a safe place for our students to learn,” said Tamra Spence, communication officer for Pflugerville ISD.

Social distancing one of the safety measures that is included in the return plan, but PPE is important as well.

“We have masks, we have goggles, gowns … we have gloves and yes, we have masks in case kids show up and don’t have one,” Spence said.

In Leander ISD, Rouse High School Principal Christine Simpson is ready with extra masks, too.

“We will give a student who doesn’t have a pencil in regular circumstances, and we will definitely give a student who doesn’t have a mask,” Simpson said.

Leander ISD has more than 43,000 students, and they currently have 380,000 masks on standby, and more could be coming in the next few weeks.

Teachers and students will be required to provide masks for themselves, but masks will be available upon request.

“Our goal is to seamlessly educate our students, whether in person or online, and so they need to be equipped to feel safe and comfortable, and if that is an additional mask then that is what we will do for them,” Simpson said.

Here are the latest numbers of PPE issued to schools in Texas by the state government, as of Aug. 4:

  • 59,410,640 masks
  • 567,948 gallons of hand sanitizer
  • 24,017 thermometers
  • 511,294 face shields

“Our campuses are going to look different when it is time to come back and we are going to have a lot more safety measures in place,” Spence said. “We are going to have more social distancing and masks will be required.”

Officials at Del Valle ISD, with more than 11,000 students, say the district has more than 125,000 masks, both disposable and reusable.

Here is a breakdown of Del Valle’s PPE stockpile:

  • 100,512 disposable masks
  • 25,128 reusable masks
  • 54,264 gloves
  • 83 thermometers
  • 1,183 gallons of hand sanitizer
  • 1,596 face shields

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