An increase in COVID-19 cases in Indiana – and across the U.S. – is prompting concerns about how safe schools will be as they reopen for the new academic year. And some schools are facing backed-up supply chains for critical items, like personal protective equipment (PPE) and technology for students.
There's a rush for schools to get critical things like face masks and sanitizer – and a lot of it.
But executive director of the Indiana Association of School Business Officials Denny Costerison says some are seeing delays in receiving those supplies.
He says the delays are also hitting technology orders as school leaders hurry to get enough devices to help students with online and remote learning.
"Whether they're tablets, laptops, whatever it is they're purchasing, I've heard they are backed up too," he said.
With COVID-19 cases on the rise, schools are re-evaluating their plans for reopening; some have chosen to delay the start of the new academic year or shifted plans to rely more on virtual instruction.
Costerison says some local leaders are making those decisions with the hopes they'll be better prepared when students and staff return.
"So they can make sure that they have all the PPE, especially items they need before they start. They don't want anyone to say 'well you weren't prepared, you weren't ready,'" he said.
Some schools are asking families to bring things like cleaning wipes and hand sanitizer as part of their back-to-school supply lists for students. The school year is scheduled to start for some as early as next week.