Here’s one way to get enough masks and PPE to reopen safely

Why some supply chain strategies may not hold up to the COVID pandemic
By: | August 17, 2020
Schools may spend close to $25 billion on masks, hand sanitizer and other PPE as they combat COVID in 2020-2021, according to some estimates. (GettyImages/Imgorthand)Schools may spend close to $25 billion on masks, hand sanitizer and other PPE as they combat COVID in 2020-2021, according to some estimates. (GettyImages/Imgorthand)

School administrators working to reopen their buildings this summer have scrambled to get enough masks, hand sanitizer and other PPE to bring students, teachers and staff back safely.

One way to solve this problem is to fortify your supply chain.

The education maintenance supplier SDI has launched PPE Supply Chain Risk Assessment to help schools establish a reliable supply of masks and other equipment, and also build up a reserve, says Kelly Kleinfelder, the company’s chief information officer and senior vice president for information technology.

Schools may spend close to $25 billion on PPE in 2020-2021, according to some estimates.


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SDI is already working New York City public schools to provide PPE as the nation’s largest school district attempts a return to partial in-person instruction.

Even districts that will remain online require PPE for staff who are on campuses distributing meals and technology or performing other administrative functions, Kleinfelder says.

“We believe there’s enough PPE out there,” she says. “But using one local supplier for these needs may not hold up to the pandemic.”

SDI’s digital supply chain uses the company’s contracted suppliers for masks, hand sanitizer and other PPE to simplify the procurement process for school administrators.

The company will also assess each district to determine the amount of supplies it will need this school year, based on the number of students and other factors, Kleinfelder says.

“When the pandemic hit, there were opportunists offering PPE at ridiculously high prices,” she says. “We can protect against that.”


DA’s coronavirus page offers complete coverage of the impacts on K-12.