PPE slow to arrive for local schools as classes start

·2 min read

Some local schools began receiving shipments of masks and COVID-19 rapid test kits on Monday, however others will have to make do without, school representatives say.

As of Monday morning, no schools within Medicine Hat or surrounding area had received shipments, but by noon several had. As of Monday evening, Prairie Rose Public Schools could only confirm one of its 21 schools had received a shipment of masks and testing kits, Medicine Hat Catholic Board of Education did not provide a number but confirmed a shipment of both masks and testing kits were received, while Medicine Hat Public Schools confirmed masks were received, but no testing kits.

“They sent it to us in boxes of 50, wanting us to distribute it to families in two-week supplies,” MHPSD superintendent Mark Davidson told the News. “In order to do that we have to break it out (of the packaging). The process they provided us for breaking it out requires extensive PPE for the people doing it and materials. It’s an arduous task.”

Staff absences across the public division make the task more difficult, as there are fewer individuals available to dedicate time to opening and distributing the supplies.

“We’re just really, right now trying to figure out how to do it because the amount of work that has been downloaded to us in order to break apart these packages is pretty massive,” said Davidson.

When contacted for comment, Alberta’s Ministry of Education did not speak on the added responsibility school staff must take on to follow the provincial government’s directives regarding masks and testing kits.

Instead, a statement was provided to the News which read, “As of this afternoon (about 2:30 p.m.), approximately eight million masks and 1.13 million rapid tests have been shipped. We anticipate the vast majority of school authorities and schools will receive a shipment of rapid tests and masks later this week.”

KENDALL KING, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Medicine Hat News

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