Oklahoma School Districts Begin Receiving State-Supplied PPE

Tuesday, August 18th 2020, 5:12 pm
By: Tevis Hillis

The governor set aside $10 million in CARES Act money to put PPE in Oklahoma schools.

As they begin to distribute the PPE, the Edmond superintendent said it all depends on how long this will last his district.

"Depends, depends on COVID, depends on whether we have to go fully virtual, depends on whether we back in the school," said Bret Towne, Edmond Public Schools' superintendent. 

As COVID-19 leaves Oklahomans making tough decisions about their children's education, the governor said he does not want to waste another school year.

"I believe it is so important we have in-person schools. We don't lose another year of education for our kids," Gov. Kevin Stitt said.

That's why he set aside $10 million to purchase PPE for districts. It will all be distributed by August 20.

"We are not guaranteed January will be any different or next August," Stitt said. 

Although he prefers students to be in the physical classroom, Stitt said he will not mandate a mask requirement in schools. He said this should be left up to superintendents.

"That was Dr. Birx's belief that the federal government should not mandate things in states. We should leave it up to the governors and our mayors," Stitt said. 

State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister said differently.

"School districts have to require masks. We will not be able to stay open," Hofmeister said.

She hopes that parents, students, and others will see that asymptomatic cases of COVID-19 are real this is why she is encouraging people to keep their mask on.

"The first thing Dr. Birx said is, 'I am here, asking for people to change their behavior to protect others,'" said Hofmeister. 

Hofmeister said this PPE is supplemental to the PPE the districts should have already.