Indiana officials will work with schools and businesses in the state to provide personal protective equipment, including 3 million resuable face masks, for K-12 educators and students, Gov. Eric Holcomb announced Wednesday.
As part of Indiana's Back on Track plan, the state hopes to make PPE more accessible to businesses, nonprofits and schools, a news release said.
“As Indiana continues to move forward, it's important to remain diligent in health and safety practices like mask wearing and sanitizing for the benefit of all Hoosiers,” said Holcomb, who last week launched a Mask Up social media and advertising campaign to encourage more people to practice suggested public health protocols.
The news release said participating public, public charter and private schools across the state will receive a no-cost PPE bundle, based on enrollment, that includes reusable antibacterial cloth face masks for students; 500 standard size disposable face masks; 100 two- or four-ounce bottles of hand sanitizer and 10 one-gallon jugs of hand sanitizer.
The bundles, which are being planned, packaged and shipped in partnership with the Indiana Department of Education and Indianapolis-based Langham Logistics, “will leverage disposable face masks and hand sanitizer being made and sourced by Indiana companies,” the release said.
Supplies will be shipped beginning next week and will be sent in order of schools' 2020-21 start dates, helping to ensure Indiana schools have the resources needed to return to the classroom if and when they plan to do so.
Schools and school districts are encouraged to contact Department of Education Chief Academic Officer Robin LeClaire at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions.
The state also announced a PPE Directory, launched Wednesday, that enables direct purchases from Indiana companies.
It replaces the Indiana Small Business PPE Marketplace, providing a long-term solution “to ensure reliable and credible access to PPE, particularly for small businesses and nonprofits,” the release said.
Since launching May 6, the Indiana Small Business PPE Marketplace has fulfilled 30,854 orders, shipping bundles of hand sanitizer, face masks and face shields at no cost to small businesses and nonprofits in more than 600 cities and towns statewide.
The Indiana PPE Directory, available online at backontrack.in.gov, lists Hoosier companies that manufacture and/or distribute PPE items, such as face masks, face shields, gloves, eye protection, hand sanitizer and disinfectant. From the directory, users may view each company's available products and place orders for PPE directly with each provider. Shipping is free for orders placed by Indiana businesses and nonprofits.
All companies in the directory have been vetted by the Indiana Economic Development Corp., the release said.
Hoosier businesses interested in being featured on the Indiana PPE Directory that meet the eligibility requirements should contact PPEDirectory@iedc.in.gov.