During the LAPS School Board meeting Tuesday night, school board members approved a resolution for the bulk purchasing of PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) for school employees. The Safety for School Employees and Saving Taxpayer Dollars by the Bulk Purchasing of PPE resolution was passed unanimously.
This resolution is the result of discussions with the Safe-Start Task Force, the County Council, and state representative Christine Chandler. After learning that the New Mexico Public Education Department (PED) will not be supplying PPE for school districts, School Board President Ellen Ben-Naim deemed coordinated efforts in purchasing such supplies necessary. President Ben-Naim said, “Let districts focus on our expertise of educating students and not spending so much time and resources, especially in a climate of budget cuts.” She hopes that by advocating for this coordinated effort, other school boards will follow suit.
Other board members agreed. Board Secretary Julia Baker said, “This goes towards equitability. And it’s good to have positive relationships with other school districts in the state.”
A concerted effort within the state will not only result in cost savings but time savings as well, allowing staff to focus on other tasks in planning for the safe start of school.
The resolution notes that personal protective equipment is essential to reduce the risk of infection, including wearing a mask or face shield, using gloves when appropriate, washing hands, cleaning schools and sanitizing common surfaces. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that schools support healthy hygiene behaviors by providing adequate supplies, including soap, hand sanitizer, paper towels, tissues, disinfectant wipes, cloth face coverings and no-touch/foot pedal trash cans.
Purchasing PPE in bulk reduces the cost per unit and can reduce how much the state pays in the long run on supplies and products as well as command a higher priority in securing hard-to-obtain PPE supplies.
The approved resolution will be sent to the New Mexico School Boards Association for statewide distribution and support.