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Personal protective equipment helps Arizona schools safely reopen

(KTAR News Photo/Ali Vetnar)

PHOENIX – As Phoenix school districts begin to transition to in-class instruction, the city has ordered more than one million pieces of personal protective equipment to help schools safely reopen.

The Phoenix City Council allocated $2.5 million from the CARES Act to secure over 35,000 thousand masks, 1,500 gallons of hand sanitizer and 38,000 isolation gowns.

Phoenix has partnered with 29 local school districts to help ensure that there will be a strong supply of PPE to keep students and educators safe.

Many of those masks include clear windows for visible expressions. The goal of displaying teacher’s facial expressions is to help students with hearing impairments, a disability, learning English as a second language or learning to read.

Distribution started Tuesday morning at the Phoenix Convention Center with the Pendergast Elementary School District.

Superintendent Dr. Lily DeBlieux described her district and said 9,000 students and over 1,000 employees would benefit from these donations during a press conference Tuesday.

“We are located in low socioeconomic area and as you know – I must say, Arizona is not funded as it should be in education,” DeBlieux said.

“So this is a tremendous help so that we can use the funding that we do have – for the students, our staff and for instruction.”

Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego thanked teachers for their service to the community and their commitment to educating during a pandemic.

“Our hope is that by providing PPE and sanitizer, we can ease the burden as they adapt to an enormous shift in service delivery for our community,” Gallego said.

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