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State PPE distribution to schools going well

By Van Wade

Governor Greg Abbott, on Thursday, visited the Texas Division of Emergency Management’s (TDEM) Warehouse in San Antonio where he provided an update on the state’s distribution of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to Texas school districts for the 2020-2021 academic year. The governor noted that the state will continue to purchase and distribute PPE to schools at no cost to the school districts.

The governor also discussed the Texas Education Agency’s (TEA) guidance for school openings—noting that local school boards have the ability to determine how and when to open for in-person instruction.

“Health and safety remain our top priority as we approach the upcoming school year,” said Abbott. “To meet that priority, the State of Texas is purchasing and distributing vast amounts of PPE to Texas school districts. As local school boards make determinations on how and when they choose to open schools, the state is working to help ensure that there will be a strong supply of PPE waiting for them to keep students, teachers, and staff safe.”

The state has already distributed the following to Texas schools:

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

As previously announced by the TEA, local school boards have up to a 4-week back to school transition period during which they can offer a solely remote instructional setting if that is deemed needed for the health and safety of students, teachers, staff and parents. After 4 weeks, the school district can extend the transition period up to another 4 weeks with a vote of the school board and receiving a waiver. If any school district believes they need an extension beyond 8 weeks due to COVID-19 related issues, the TEA will review that request on a case-by-case basis.

The governor also discussed the Supply Chain Strike Force and TDEM’s broader efforts to purchase and distribute PPE supplies to meet the needs of Texas communities. The TDEM Warehouse has distributed the following PPE since the pandemic began:

  • 794,370 coveralls
  • 4,095,892 face shields
  • 32,972,340 gloves
  • 7,409,424 gowns
  • 132,850,406 masks