Westfield schools are in good shape with PPE, says school safety officer

Christopher J. Rogers, director of student interventions and safety officer for the Westfield Public Schools. (THE WESTFIELD NEWS FILE PHOTO)

WESTFIELD – Westfield Public Schools Safety Officer Christopher Rogers, who is also the administrator of student interventions, said the schools are in good shape with personal protective equipment for the school year.

“Everything that we ordered is either in or shipping this week, or arriving this week,” Rogers said.

Teachers are currently working on professional development remotely until Sept. 10 when they will return to work in their buildings, and the first students to come back, the technical education students, will return to shops on Sept. 14. “We should have everything by then,” he said.

Among the equipment ordered was 150,000 adult-size masks for faculty and students grades 7 and up; and 150,000 child-size masks for preK through grade 6. These are back up masks, as every student that comes to school is going to be required to wear a mask or a face covering, with special exceptions. “We’re in good shape there,” Rogers said.

Also ordered were specialized N95 and KN95 masks, face shields and safety glasses for nurses, custodians and staff that work with special populations. Twenty-four thousand medium size gloves, the same amount of large size gloves, and 5,000 gowns were also ordered for the same staff.

Also ordered were 2,400 gallons of hand sanitizer and 180 cases of sanitizing wipes.

“We’ve worked hard to get where we are with this. 75% is already in, and the rest will be shipped and delivered sometime this week, well in advance of anybody coming back,” Rogers said.

Rogers said in terms of safety preparations, everything was done based on the advice and guidance of the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, and in constant contact with the City of Westfield. He said at any point in time, the schools won’t have any more than half of the students in the building.

Rogers said the bottom line is that WPS is committed and dedicated to provide the safest possible environment for their students and their staff. He said it isn’t going to be a normal school year, because enhanced protocols have been put in place to protect people; such as making sure masks are being worn, staggering lunches, one-way traffic in hallways, and limiting visitors to buildings.

“We’re confident in our plan and we’re confident that if we work together, we’ll mitigate the risk,” Rogers said.

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