As schools reopen, students across the nation will be encouraged to wash their hands and use hand sanitizer frequently throughout the day. Unfortunately, these items and others related to dealing with COVID-19 are in high demand and short supply. Without knowing how long the pandemic will last in the U.S., it is even more important for school districts in Arizona to keep track of the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and COVID-19 supplies it will need to last throughout at least the 2020-2021 school year and beyond.
In fact, earlier this year, before the COVID-19 crisis started affecting everyday life, the Tolleson Union High School District began buying cleaning and disinfecting supplies, just like many other school districts. As it became apparent that the Coronavirus was going to become something much more ominous, the district began getting ahead of the curve to purchase as much disinfectant, cleaning supplies and personal protective equipment it could get in anticipation of the need.
“Our Chief Financial Officer, Mr. Jeremy Calles, foresaw that we were going to need these supplies in abundance, not only for the school sites, but for the District Office and other facilities as well,” said Superintendent Nora Gutierrez. “He saw early on that it was in our district’s best interest to purchase, but not overstock, the cleaning supplies needed to keep our students and staff safe.”
The decision to get ahead of the game paid off. However, how do you make sure you have the needed supplies and not run out when you desperately need them, especially when no one knows how long the pandemic will last?
With that dilemma in mind, Calles developed a COVID-19 dashboard to keep track of supplies to ensure that it has enough to last throughout the school year. “The dashboard was created because there was a concern that we could put a safety plan into place and then reach a point where we fail to have the supplies necessary to continue the plan,” said Calles.
With this new dashboard, the District can track the inventory of needed COVID-19 supplies and project how many days of each supply they have on hand. “COVID supplies, such as disinfecting wipes, have shown long lead times,” stated Calles. “By projecting our needs out well in advance, we are able to ensure that we have the supplies needed, while at the same time
ensuring that we don’t over order or hoard any one particular item.”
Calles designed the dashboard to be used by principals, directors or any stakeholder within the school district that is interested in seeing how well prepared the District is in terms of implementing the proposed plan. Business Services staff will take the primary lead on ensuring that all of the information contained in the dashboard is kept current.
Calles added that all districts should do a thorough analysis on their plan to ensure they are properly stocked to make it through the school year.