On Monday, the Government of Saskatchewan announced the purchase 18,000 face shields and 4 million disposable masks from the Saskatoon-based company Benchmark Personal Protective Equipment for use by school students and staff.
“Our government is pleased to support Saskatchewan-based personal protective equipment suppliers while protecting students, school staff and families,” Education Minister Dustin Duncan said.
“We continue to work closely with the education sector to identify how we can best support their school-based needs.”
The facemasks and shields are the third batch of school personal protective equipment (PPE) purchased by the Government of Saskatchewan to ensure students and staff continue to have daily access to masks. Each school-based staff member will also have access to a face shield.
According to the province, the face shields and masks are being shipped directly to Saskatchewan’s 27 school divisions and 26 independent schools starting Monday and continuing throughout this week.
The new order being shipped this week is in addition to the 8.4 million disposable masks previously purchased by the Ministry of Education and distributed directly to provincial school divisions and independent schools. This is also in addition to masks that school divisions may have purchased on their own and masks that many parents are also providing for their children.
The new order of face shields is also in addition to the 28,000 face shields that were provided to schools in the fall through a Canadian company based in Ontario.
“Benchmark PPE is extremely proud to be able to manufacture these critical PPE items in Saskatoon,” Benchmark Personal Protective Equipment Business Developer Justin Stuart said.
“It is of the utmost importance to keep students and staff in schools safe while in the classroom.”
A Request for Bids (RFB) is currently open on SaskTenders for 210,000 non-medical cloth facemasks. The RFB closes on January 14 and the reusable masks are expected to be delivered directly to school divisions and independent schools by the end of January.
“The Ministry of Education is undertaking another bulk procurement of masks and other PPE now to ensure schools continue to have a sufficient supply. This next supply of PPE will include: disposable masks, non-medical cloth masks and face shields. Once ordered, the PPE supplies will be distributed to school divisions and independent schools,” an email from the Ministry of Education stated.
The order for the Request for Bids (RFB), which is a sealed bidding method , seeks vendors for an initial order for roughly 210,000 non-medical cloth facemasks. Preferred delivery is on or before Jan. 29, 2021.
The successful supplier is required to directly courier masks to each of the 27 school divisions and 26 independent schools. These supplies are being purchased using the $10 million allocated to the Ministry of Education for the purchase of PPE for schools