With just two weeks until students head back to school, Vermont health and education officials are outfitting school districts with personal protective equipment.
"Many kids and family need this to be successful, they need to get back to school," Gov. Phil Scott said Tuesday. "And with everything in this, there are no easy answers or ideal solutions. It takes all of us pulling in the same direction, getting creative and staying nimble in order for us to be successful."
This week, the state is distributing nearly 800 gallons of hand sanitizer, 25,900 face coverings, 81,700 pairs of gloves, over 1,600 face shields and over 1,600 specialized PPE kits comprised of surgical gowns and surgical masks. Every school in Vermont will get two gallons of hand sanitizer.
Public schools in Vermont are slated to start by Sept. 8.
Most districts in Vermont have opted for hybrid learning models, Scott said, after the state's Agency of Education gathered information on reopening plans. Though it varies by district, the majority of students will start the school year with alternating days of in-person and remote learning.
"In some places, teachers and staff are back in the buildings preparing classrooms, testing remote platforms and troubleshooting potential issues," Scott said. "And we're fully ready, because we all share the goal of making sure kids safely get the same high quality education they would have had before the pandemic."
Meanwhile, Scott is expanding online services at the Department of Motor Vehicles to address a growing backlog since the offices closed due to the pandemic. Scott noted that residents have been given extensions for driver's licenses and registrations per his executive order.
The state will announce the launching of the system "soon," according to Vermont DMV Commissioner Wanda Minoli, and three branch locations are reopening by appointment-only next week.
"We're committed to doing better and stepping up our customer service, especially with new registrations," Scott said. "I've also asked the commissioner to develop and put into place a plan that will quickly resolve the backlog."
Vermont reported 9 new coronavirus cases Monday, bringing the state's total to 1,566. The death toll remains at 58.