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Local school districts spend hundreds of thousands on COVID-19 protection gear

Published: Nov. 16, 2020 at 6:17 PM EST
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - With Georgia cases of COVID-19 climbing, so does Georgia school spending.

Safety supplies are already packed inside a Richmond County School System warehouse.

“To date, we’ve spent approximately $750,000 on supplies that are related to the coronavirus pandemic,” district schools representative Lynthia Ross said.

The district is now approaching the million-dollar threshold on costs for safety measures.

Ross explains the district will spend $500,000 more headed into next year.

“In order for us to continue to do that, we are committed to making sure that we have a resource and give our schools, our teachers, our students the tools that they need to be safe in this environment,” Ross said.

The buck doesn’t stop there.

Columbia County records show sneeze guards, disinfectant, gloves, masks are among the many supplies equaling $592,000 in safety expenses.

We tracked the dollars in Burke’s budget too. The school system spent close to $70,000 on all its personal protective equipment.

Over in Emanuel County, the total sits at more than $120,000 on supplies like shields, thermometers, gowns, and sanitizers.

The state has assisted local school systems in their efforts, but Richmond County’s Ross tells us it comes down to local officials taking the budget day by day and month by month.

At the current rate, Richmond County’s supplies are expected to last through March.

Despite recent school campus closures resulting in fewer supplies used, districts say they still have to prepare aggressively while looking ahead to possibly having more students enrolled in traditional learning come next year

“We are always going to act in the best interest for the health and safety of our students and staff,” Ross said. “And I think that parents will continue to see that from the Richmond County Schools System in the months ahead as we continue to navigate this environment”

With thousands of students learning home this week after all Richmond County schools closed, officials tell us there were some technical glitches for the first few hours of the day.

But ultimately, those were resolved. Students should have full access to the online platform whenever they need it.

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