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New recommendations from CDC on school COVID-19 mitigation costs

Updated: Dec. 15, 2020 at 5:58 AM CST
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ETOWAH COUNTY, Ala. (WBRC) - The CDC just released new recommendations that include a financial breakdown of how much it would cost schools to try and keep your child safe from COVID.

“It’s been much more expensive this year with the amount of PPE, hand sanitizer,” said Alan Cosby, Etowah County Superintendent Alan Cosby. “Just the various precautionary measures we’ve put in place.”

The CDC released new figures that estimates it costs anywhere between about $55 to $442 per student for COVID mitigation strategies. The low end covers basic things like hand sanitizer or desk shields. The higher cost includes things like hiring additional custodial staff.

CDC Leaders saying “these estimates, although not exhaustive, highlight the level of resources needed to ensure that schools reopen and remain open.”

Etowah County School leaders say CARES Act money has foot the $1.5 million bill for COVID safety purchases this year. That breaks down to a little over $200 per student for on-campus learners. Leaders hope more money is on the way if the impact of COVID on schools drags longer.

“Just unfathomable. A year ago we wouldn’t have thought it would take this much to run a school system,” said Cosby. “Going to have to take a look if we have to continue. If there’s no cares act money”

Some districts have faced challenges that money can’t fix in keeping schools open. Etowah County schools has transitioned to remote because of staffing issues and having enough manpower to cover positions with teacher who have to quarantine.

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