CINCINNATI — Hamilton County officials are working to ensure schools across the county have a stockpile of masks as students and teachers return to the classroom.
About 110,000 reusable cloth masks will be distributed to public and private schools across Hamilton County, Commissioner Denise Driehaus said.
Hamilton County Emergency Management Agency partnered with the county Educational Service Center to provide the masks, 350 no-touch thermometers and 50,000 face shields.
Gov. Mike DeWine on Tuesday ordered all students K-12 must wear masks when they return to school. The order came based on recommendations from The Ohio Children’s Hospital Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics.
While officials are unable to procure masks for every student in every district, the supply will exist in case a child forgets their masks or breaks their mask during the school day.
“What I think we’re hoping for is that parents are sending their kids to school with the mask already, or they’re getting it through a supply that the school already has,” Driehaus said.
The supplies will be distributed to K-12 schools across the county, including Cincinnati Public Schools and schools in Norwood and Springdale.
County officials allocated a combined $9 million for PPE procurement and distribution, according to county data. Hamilton County received $142 million in Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding.
In the event that a student or teacher tests positive for the virus, Hamilton County Public Health officials would work closely with the school to determine next steps, Health Commissioner Greg Kesterman said.
Contact tracers would work to notify anyone who was within six feet of the person who tested positive so they can self-quarantine.
“Obviously, the schools have a big role here to make sure they’re maintaining seating charts and understanding who those students are around,” Kesterman said.
Every classroom/area the student or teacher visited would have to be cleaned, so it’s “absolutely possible” a school could be closed if the student or teacher was in several classrooms, Kesterman said.