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The Alabama State Department of Education (ALSDE), working collaboratively with the federal HHS, is making plans to ensure the delivery of more than two million cloth face masks to school systems as schools head into the fall season.

State Superintendent of Education, Dr. Eric Mackey said that in an attempt to be as efficient as possible with needed supplies, the ALSDE conducted a statewide survey to determine the needs of each school system.

“We’re in a fortunate position to be able to supply school systems with some of the personally protective equipment they need to be safer as many systems begin to open up for face-to-face instruction,” Mackey said. “I want to make sure we are being good stewards of the resources we have, and are being as equitable as possible with regard to local school system needs.”

Jennifer Ventress, lead nurse for the ALSDE, said the logistics of delivering the masks takes a significant amount of coordination between state agencies, school systems, and personnel.

Ventress said official deliveries of face masks will start next week.

The packages will be addressed to local School Superintendents statewide, and will be delivered directly to their school system’s Central Office location by the United Parcel Service (UPS). Because of the large number of masks being provided, a total of two statewide distributions will be done.

Approximately 2.4 million school face masks will be issued to local school systems.

“We have continually supplied local school systems with as much PPE (personally protective equipment) as possible. We have sent gallons of sanitizer and disinfectant, thousands of face shields, face masks, and forehead thermometers,” Ventress said. “This is a collective effort on the part of the Alabama Department of Public Health, the Alabama Emergency Management Agency, the U.S. federal government, and others. We are trying to anticipate every possible need and respond as proactively as possible.”

To learn more about this statewide school safety effort, contact ALSDE Communication at comm@alsde.edu, or State School Nurse Jennifer Ventress at jventress@ALSDE.edu.