Masks and Tests Update

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Masks and Tests Update

Earlier this week we sent a letter to the FEMA asking that they continue to allow PPE and sanitation to be reimbursable expenses for districts. The same day our letter was sent, FEMA announced that they would be suspending the policy from March that made districts eligible for FEMA reimbursement for PPE and sanitation-related requests. This policy is not retroactive meaning that if districts did purchase PPE or sanitation and are expecting reimbursement they will receive it as long as those purchases were made prior to September 15th.

Also this week, HHS announced that it would be distributing 125 million masks, half adult size and half child size, to schools based on the share of low-income students. A list of the # of masks States will be receiving is available here. The masks will be distributed in two shipments beginning in early September. We have no other details on how the masks will be delivered to districts, whether districts must request them, what responsibility for distributing them to private school students districts have and many other basic logistical details.

There is also a plan to distribute 150 million Abbott tests for schools. What is less clear is whether the feds will also be distributing machines to run the test or any funding to locally distribute and store the tests. There is no clarity around how schools will request/receive the tests, how parent refusal to test their child will be handled, HIPPA/FERPA concerns and other logistical and administrative issues around testing students and staff in schools.

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