IRMO, S.C. (WCSC) - South Carolina Education Superintendent Molly Spearman announced Tuesday more than $33 million in personal protective equipment is being distributed to all 81 public school districts.
The South Carolina Department of Education purchased the equipment and supplies after the state’s General Assembly gave SCDE additional flexibility to use Coronoavirus Relief Funds to cover the cost of school safety measures in response to COVID-19. That flexibility includes purchasing masks, gloves, wipes, hand sanitizer, face shields, cleaning solution, plexiglass and other cleaning equipment and supplies.
“With the 2020-21 school year well underway, it is critical that teachers and schools have the supplies needed to ensure face to face instruction can continue to be carried out as safely as possible,” Spearman said at a news conference at River Springs Elementary School Tuesday morning. “This statewide order will not only ensure that face to face operations can be maintained for the foreseeable future but will also provide the necessary resources to phase in additional face to face learning as health and safety conditions allow.”
The Department of Education collected requests from all 81 state public school districts and spokesman Ryan Brown said the department was able to fund every request made.
SCDE has purchased and will distribute the following PPE and supplies:
- 597,585 - Adult and student reusable cloth face masks
- 2,681,950 - Adult and student disposable face masks
- 189,966 - KN95 masks
- 87,010 - Adult and student face shields
- 108,476 - Boxes of Gloves (100 count each)
- 331,913 - Gowns for nurses
- 606,473 - Cases of disinfecting wipes (50 count each)
- 41,474 - Gallons of hand sanitizer
- 99,259 - Bottles (16 oz) of hand sanitizer
- 69,243 - Bottles (32 oz) of disinfecting solution
- 1,746 - Electrostatic backpack sprayers
The SCDE also funded district orders for plexiglass, which allows classrooms to accommodate additional students while maintaining safety standards.
More than 300,000 pieces of plexiglass have been ordered and many have already been delivered, Brown said. Other PPE and supplies began arriving at school district-designated delivery locations last week.