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Wood BOE purchases masks, water stations

In this screencap Tuesday, members of the Wood County Board of Education discuss approval of a resolution asking the federal government to provide COVID-19 emergency relief funds to public schools to help offset increased costs from the virus as schools prepare to reopen this fall.

PARKERSBURG — The Wood County Board of Education Tuesday approved the purchase of face masks and water bottle refilling stations in anticipation of the 2020-21 school year.

The purchases are to help students and staff remain safe while attending in-person classes this fall during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The board approved the purchase of 30,000 face masks at a cost of $100,500 from Shirt Factory and Sporting Goods. Board President Justin Raber said the purchase will allow all students to be issued two masks each.

The board also approved purchase of the refilling stations at a cost of $106,800 from Hajoca.

Wood County Schools recently approved a draft re-entry plan for this fall, with classes beginning Sept. 8 for students. The plan requires grades 4-12 to wear masks while maintaining social distancing, and asks students to use refillable containers as all water fountains will be shut down to help slow and prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The board unanimously approved a resolution calling on the federal government to provide COVID-19 emergency relief fund to help school systems offset the numerous expenses of operating during the pandemic. Prior to the vote, representatives of local teacher and service personnel unions addressed the board thanking the board for their support and reiterating the need for additional resources during the coronavirus crisis.

Raber said he will draft a letter on behalf of the board urging Rep. David McKinley, R-W.Va., Sen. Shelly Moore Capito, R-W.Va., and Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., to back legislation providing funding for school systems during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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