Manatee County school leaders to vote on big-ticket items meant to protect students, staff

Manatee County school are less than a week away from welcoming students back to the classroom.  As they tie up all their final loose ends, they’re learning that keeping students safe comes with a pretty hefty price tag. 

On Tuesday, the school board plans to vote on two major items, both of which will help keep their students and staff protected, but will cost well over $1 million.

The school board first plans to vote on whether additional cleaning supplies like hand sanitizer, gloves, soap, wipes and thermometers are needed for their schools. If approved, the grand total for all those supplies comes out to $1.7 million. The total does not include the other $800,000 the board is also considering spending to hire outside companies to professionally clean and disinfect their buildings. 

The schools have already purchased many supplies, including a few machines that spray a solution to kill COVID-19 on the spot. However, they believe they can do more. 

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The board will also be discussing options for offering rapid COVID-19 testing for students and staff to help make sure they can identify cases before they spread.

The district stated that they want to lead the way as they welcome their kids back to the classroom by making sure their schools are the safest environment possible.

For those students who will be learning at home for the semester, the board also needs to approve another $350,000 to make sure those students are set up for success with all the equipment they may need. 

The district has already spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to buy masks for students and staff and also partitioners for desks, so those in the classroom can be safe as well.

The meeting is scheduled to take place at 5:45 p.m. at the School Support Center in Bradenton. Parents will be able to watch at home through the district’s website.