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Highmark donates PPE, supplies to Wood County Schools

Highmark West Virginia President Jim Fawcett, left, speaks with Wood County Schools Superintendent Will Hosaflook during a press conference Wednesday at the Board of Education office in Parkersburg. Highmark is donating face masks, face shields, hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes to all public schools in West Virginia. (Photo by Evan Bevins)

PARKERSBURG — The head of Highmark West Virginia on Wednesday presented a box of masks, face shields and hand sanitizer to Wood County Schools, symbolizing the insurance provider’s contributions of similar COVID-19 toolkits to schools across the Mountain State.

“It’s an investment. Our employees care that their children have a good, safe experience,” Highmark West Virginia President Jim Fawcett told Wood County Schools Superintendent Will Hosaflook. “Your success is critical to our success.”

In a presentation at the Wood County Board of Education office on 13th Street, Fawcett said he knows the district and its counterparts around the state have been securing items to make next week’s return to classes as safe as possible. The donation of approximately 260,000 adjustable face masks for students and 40,000 face shields for teachers and other staff members — plus sanitizing wipes and one-gallon hand sanitizer pumps — are meant to bolster their supplies.

“We’re headquartered in Parkersburg, but we insure people in all 55 counties of West Virginia,” Fawcett said.

Hosaflook said he and other superintendents appreciate the donation.

Boxes of items Highmark West Virginia is donating to schools around the state include masks, face shields, sanitizing wipes and hand sanitizer. (Photo by Evan Bevins)

“I cannot thank you enough, because we need it,” he said.

Fawcett said most of Highmark’s employees continue to work from home and will do so through the end of the year. The workers’ biggest concern is family members returning to school safely, he said.

The kits also include posters aimed at encouraging proper mask use, hand washing and social distancing.

“You have to make it fun,” Fawcett said.

Able to order large quantities of the needed supplies, Highmark made similar donations in Delaware and Pennsylvania, Fawcett said.

Schools in West Virginia will be allotted supplies based on their student and teacher populations, according to a release from the company.

“Highmark West Virginia is a sterling example of corporate partnership in our state,” West Virginia Superintendent of Schools W. Clayton Burch said in the release. “It has readily stepped in to assist our education community as we approach the beginning of a new school year. … Highmark has been and remains a key part of our community, and its commitment to West Virginians is critical during these challenging times.”

Evan Bevins can be reached at ebevins@newsandsentinel.com.

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