MONTPELIER, Vt. – The Vermont Agency of Education, working in close cooperation with the State Emergency Operations Center, is working to provide personal protective equipment and other resources to support Vermont schools as they prepare to reopen. These resources include PPE kits for school nurses and school COVID-19 coordinators, hand sanitizer, cloth face coverings, posters, and other mask campaign resources to remind and encourage all Vermonters that face coverings are required in all schools to protect students, staff, and their families.
“School administrators, principals, teachers, staff, and parents are working incredibly hard to make the start of this school year a success for our kids and ensure all health and safety protocols are in place to keep schools safe. We are pleased to further support this work by providing these additional supplies,” said Gov. Phil Scott. “I hope all Vermonters will remember that the most important thing we can do to help our kids and school employees is to stay vigilant and keep the prevalence of COVID-19 low in our communities.”
Vermont school districts and independent schools are in the final phases of their efforts to prepare for reopening Sept. 8, a universal start date as directed by Gov. Scott.
“Educators and school administrators are in the middle of a herculean effort to get ready for students to return to the classroom,” said Secretary of Education Dan French. “At the state level, we’re doing everything we can to find and provide resources to help them do this. It has been a team effort, and I am grateful to our state agency partners at Vermont Emergency Management, the Health Department, the Agency of Transportation, and the Vermont National Guard, for their efforts and assistance.”
The state is providing 1,515 PPE kits for school nurses and COVID-19 coordinators. In total, the state will distribute 75,750 pairs of gloves, 75,750 surgical masks and 75,750 surgical gowns, as well as over 1,500 face shields. These kits will be available to school nurses, COVID-19 coordinators, and other key staff for use when performing health care tasks and assessments within close contact of those who are potentially ill or injured. The state is also providing nearly 800 gallons of hand sanitizer and 23,620 adult-size face coverings.
These resources are being provided to schools free of charge, with costs covered via Federal Emergency Management Agency assistance, Coronavirus Relief Funds, and private donations.
The SEOC, with assistance from multiple agencies, has led the work to find and coordinate distribution of these supplies. The resources were sourced from the state’s medical logistics warehouse and transported by VTrans and Vermont National Guard staff to regional VTrans garages. Schools are picking up their orders from garages in their area this week.
“This distribution effort highlights the ongoing partnership among state and federal agencies that has defined the response to COVID-19 in Vermont,” Vermont Emergency Management Director Erica Bornemann said. “From the beginning we have taken a whole government approach to ensure the continued wellbeing of Vermonters, and that will continue throughout this pandemic.”
For more information on Vermont’s response to COVID-19, visit www.healthvermont.gov/covid19.