ANACORTES — Northwest Educational Service District 189 is preparing to distribute thousands of items of personal protective equipment to local school districts.
The Northwest Education Service District (ESD), which is located in Anacortes but serves 35 school districts in Island, San Juan, Skagit, Snohomish and Whatcom counties, is one of nine ESDs in the state that have been working to provide resources — physically and remotely — to school districts as they adapt to online learning.
Also, the ESDs have been using their combined purchasing power to allow school districts to place orders for personal protective equipment at a lower cost, said Jessica Haag, communication specialist with the local ESD.
In a second round of purchasing, the state Department of Emergency Services offered certain items for free, meaning districts that had already ordered those items no longer had to pay for them, Haag said.
The supplies include thousands of masks — both cloth and medical-grade KN95 — gloves, gowns and face shields, Haag said.
The supplies are going to 29 public school districts as well as 11 private schools, Haag said.
Although most districts are holding classes in a mostly online fashion, many have some students, especially those with special needs, on campuses.
Hagg said the local ESD is hoping to get the more than 30 pallets of gear distributed by Christmas, just in time for another shipment to be delivered.