Like all other school systems across the country having closed due to COVID-19, Mingo County Schools officials are as uncertain as anyone else as to when or even if schools will reopen and finish out the 2019-2020 school year.

The one thing officials currently know for certain, however, is school personnel will continue to work in the buildings, at least for the foreseeable future, and that at some point students will be returning to the classroom.

And when students do return to their classes and, in the meantime, while both professional and service personnel are working in the buildings, health officials say conscious hand sanitizing by using the best method, soap and water, or by a good viable backup, hand sanitizers, will continue to be necessary.

This is why, school officials said, a few precautionary steps that can be difference makers in the present with this current health threat — or even future health threats — are being taken now in all the county’s schools.

One of these preventative measures is to install new hand sanitizer dispensers in all the schools.

During his monthly report to the board at Tuesday evening’s regular Mingo County Board of Education meeting, Maintenance Director William Hensley brought the board up to date on this latest safety project being undertaken by his department.

Hensley said along with the usual maintenance projects managed last month, due to the health emergency his department also ordered 700 of the hand sanitizer dispensers and will be installing one unit in every classroom and office upon delivery.

“They are the push button style instead of the automatic dispensers, but the hand sanitizer packs that go in them have 1,300 uses per pack,” he said.

“Another good thing is the automatic dispensers were $20 apiece, while the push button ones we’re free.”

Hensley said another routine but nonetheless proactive step being taken is the installation of new soap dispensers in the schools to replace obsolete or damaged units.

“We’ve also been working with one of my vendors and we’re going to be installing new soap dispensers in the schools,” he said. “It’s a program set up within (the vendor’s) organization and it’s going to save us $4,000 a year compared to the amount of soap we purchased last year, so we’re being able to take care of an immediate need at a cheaper cost to the school system.”

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