Schools get help gearing up for the fall

Examples of personal protective equipment include hand sanitizer and masks, similar to those seen here. Several school districts across Idaho received supplies of hand sanitizer and masks to be used at their respective sites, including districts in Payette County.

PAYETTE COUNTY - As local school districts work to comb through state guidance on reopening for classes this fall, the Idaho State Department of Education has stepped up to give selected school districts a leg up on the preparation by dropping off supplies of personal protective equipment to be used at each district’s sites.

The newspaper reached out to the superintendents of school districts throughout Payette County on July 8, to find out how each plans to utilize their gifted supplies.

New Plymouth Superintendent David Sotutu said the supplies are a big help for reopening day.

“We picked up 6 gallons of hand sanitizer and 7,200 single-use face masks,” said Sotutu. “This will help us follow CDC guidelines when we will have people in our buildings.”

Payette Superintendent Robin Gilbert said they didn’t get as much in the distribution.

“Other districts were able to go and pick up free supplies,” Gilbert noted. Payette went to West Ada School District early last week for the distribution to pick up supplies for Fruitland and Payette. By the time we arrived there were no masks available. We did bring back 5-gallon jugs of hand sanitizer. Payette also picked up a 5-gallon jug of hand sanitizer from Southwest District Health.”

Gilbert said 

When asked how this gift plays into their reopening plans, the consensus is that there is still more to do.

“We still have several decisions yet to make before we communicate concrete plans,” said Sotutu.

“The State Board of Education is reviewing and distributing guidance for reopening schools that was developed with task force committees in coordination with the Governor’s office. I am reviewing these currently and will be working with a Payette District committee next week to design and communicate with our parents and stakeholders,” said Gilbert.

A representative for Fruitland School District did not respond to requests for comment.

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