By John Smist | September 24, 2020 at 10:05 PM EDT – Updated September 25 at 12:10 AM
WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) – New Hanover County Schools purchasing director Kevin Lee has been very busy.
Over the summer months, Lee has been busy stocking up on personal protective equipment (PPE) such as face masks, shields, cleaning solutions, hand sanitizer, and many other things, getting ready for students to return to the classroom.
“I’ve been focused on Plan B,” said Lee. “We have to be focused on that. So, since the beginning, our goal has been to get the kids back into school as soon as we can. Make sure that we had the stuff that we need to get them back in school.”
And the quantity of items is amazing: nearly 3500 16-ounce bottles of hand sanitizer. 1500 half-gallon jugs of hand sanitizer, with pumps. 850,000 plastic gloves and 180,000 masks for students and staff.
It is impossible to fill quantities this size in days or even weeks; the planning started months ago.
“I would say, 90% of our vendors said we’ll get it to you,” said Lee. “It may not be this week or next week. They have tried to give us a timeline. We’ve been looking at that and placed the orders early as we could.”
Federal CARES Act money paid for most of it. Now, crews are working to get this equipment to individual schools to be used when students return.
“The bottom line is, I’m going to give them what they say they need,” said Lee. “If they can defend it, they’re going to get it. We have what we need to get done. If they need special accommodation for some reason, we are going to answer it.”
New Hanover County students return to the classroom in an AA/BB Plan B schedule on Oct 12.
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