aasa and asbo

Reopening means an additional $1.8 million in costs for average-sized school district, administrators estimate

June 10, 2020
AASA and ASBO put a dollar figure on the health and safety steps needed to reopen schools while combating the coronavirus.

Schools and universities have been making plans to reopen their campuses, even though much uncertainty remains about when and how quickly reopening happens.

But one thing is clear—when in-person classes resume, schools will have to operate much differently to ensure the health and safety of students and staff. And those differences are going to be expensive.

How expensive? AASA—The School Superintendents Association and the Association of School Business Officials International (ASBO) have worked up estimates of how much it will cost for schools to put into place the cleaning and safety steps needed to combat Covid-19.

The bottom line: An average school district (defined for this purpose as 3,659 students, 8 school buildings, 183 classrooms, 329 staff members and 40 buses transporting at 25% capacity), will have to spend an additional $1,778,139 to follow safety protocols needed to bring students back into classrooms.

The estimate "is not intended to be exhaustive, but illustrates how the overall cost of school operations will substantially increase to safely reopen as a direct result of the Covid-19 pandemic," AASA and ASBO say.

The projected costs are divided into four categories: health monitoring, cleaning and disinfecting; additional staff to carry out health and safety protocols; personal protective equipment; and transportation and childcare.

Health monitoring, cleaning and disinfecting:

  • Hand sanitizers for students in classrooms—$39,517
  • Electrostatic disinfectant sprayers—$33,600
  • Deep cleaning of a school after a confirmed Covid-19 case—$26,000
  • Disinfectant wipes for classrooms—$16,833
  • No-touch thermometer (one per school)—$640
  • Oximeter (one per school)—$360

Additional staff to carry out health and safety protocols

  • Custodial staff for increased cleaning and disinfecting of schools and buses—$448,000
  • Ensuring that every public school has at least one nurse (full-time or part-time)—$400,000
  • Ensuring one aide per bus to screen student temperatures before boarding—$384,000

Personal Protective Equipment=

  • Disposable masks for students who do not bring masks from home (an estimated 30% of students)—$148,190
  • Daily disposable masks for in-school staff—$44,415
  • Gloves for custodial staff (5 pairs a day for 2 custodians per school)—$1,440

Providing transportation and childcare

  • Resume before- and after-school childcare programs (with social distancing and cleaning protocols)—$168,750
  • Fog machines and cleaner for buses—$55,860
  • Hand sanitizer for buses—$10,534

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