State plans to supply schools with cleaning supplies and personal protective equipment

Louisiana Capitol Building
Photo by Julie O'Donoghue

Louisiana State Superintendent Cade Brumley told the Louisiana House Education Committee Monday that in addition to creating health and safety guidelines for reopening schools that the Louisiana Department of Education has also added information about supplying schools with cleaning supplies and how they should use them.

School employees must be provided adequate access to hygienic supplies, including soap, hand sanitizer with at least a 60 percent alcohol content, disinfectant wipes or spray, paper towels and tissues and face coverings, Brumley said.

“This information on hygienic supplies has been added due to the number of legitimate concerns from teachers about making sure that they’re able to enter a workplace that they feel is safe,” Brumley said.

School systems can make requests for personal protective equipment — such as thermometers, sanitizers and face masks — through their  parish’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, said Ted Beasley, the communications director for the Louisiana Department of Education.

The education department  received $316 million in total from grants including the CARES Act and Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund, Brumley said. He said  $257 million was distributed proportionally throughout the state, and the remaining $59 million was distributed more equitably based on the district’s socioeconomic status.

“They received more or less of their funding requests based on their local wealth. So the poorer the system may be, the greater percentage the system got the requests they were provided,” said Brumley.

Some districts have used CARES Act money to purchase personal protective equipment and health supplies, Beasley said, and others have used money from their budgets.

Earlier this month, the education department released its  recommendations that students who are in the third grade and above wear face masks and younger students to stay with one group the entire school day. The department recommends that students and faculty be tested for fever outside the building and that anyone with a temperature of 100.4 or higher be turned away.