With cases of the coronavirus continuing to climb and Oklahoma schools slated to begin next month, Governor Kevin Stitt says he wants kids back in the classroom.
"Schools are an essential part of our society. It is critically important that they operate safely and effectively for all students," Stitt said during a Thursday press conference. "Our kids cannot miss another year of school."
Stitt announced a program to get personal protective equipment (PPE) into schools, using $10 million of the state's federal CARES Act funds.
That will buy enough reusable masks to supply every teacher and student with two each, as well as 42,000 face shields and 1.2 million disposable gloves and hospital gowns. The supplies should be distributed by August 14.
The state also plans to do monthly COVID-19 tests on teachers.
Stitt says ultimately local leaders should decide if it’s safe to have in person instruction during the pandemic. But that every effort must be made to educate in person, despite rising case numbers.