This week, Governor Stitt announced that a portion of CARES Act funding will go to providing each teacher and student two re-usable masks, but required no mandate for them to be worn inside school buildings or classrooms.

When asked about providing cleaning supplies as part of PPE, the governor responded:

“We haven’t contemplated, in this round of funding, cleaning supplies at this point.”

That is unacceptable leadership for the safety of Oklahoma students, educators, and the communities in which they interact.

Health experts have unanimously touted regularly cleaning surfaces with PPE as a strong way to combat the virus.

OU Medicine Pediatric Infectious Disease Specialist, Donna Tyungu, has said:

"Things you can do on the ground to make things as safe as possible for students and teachers, like certain PPE. Some of the things people have been doing internationally is having students actually wipe down their own desks multiple times a day. So the teacher will walk through the classroom and spray the cleanser on the desk and the students would take that opportunity to wipe down their desks."

Cleaning wipes and sprays are necessary items, but have been more sparsely available, especially when compared with masks, and many educators have donated their own personal supplies to medical professionals, as was recommended.

These are necessary items for the safe return to the classrooms that we all desperately want.

However, they are too important to be unconsidered and left to students and teachers to purchase themselves. Something that would hurt our most vulnerable populations disproportionately.

Please let Governor Stitt know that it is the state's responsibility to provide cleaning supplies to schools during a pandemic, whose infection rate is increasing at a much higher level than when schools were mandated to close by the state in March.