PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — A spokesperson for the Providence Public School District said Tuesday there is plenty of soap supply in the district, after the president of the teachers union tweeted that some schools had run out.
“Send soap for the bathrooms at the schools that don’t have any to assist in this process! Please and thank you,” tweeted Maribeth Calabro, the president of the Providence Teachers Union.
She was replying directly to a tweet by PPSD, which urged parents to teach their children to wash their hands frequently to prevent the spread of germs. (The Rhode Island Department of Health says there are three known cases of COVID-19 in the state, and nearly 300 people are self-quarantining.)
“There is no shortage of soap supplies at PPSD,” spokesperson Laura Hart said. “Last week, the district received a few reports that soap had not been refilled frequently enough during the day in some bathrooms, so we increased the frequency with which our custodial staff monitor soap dispensers.”
Hart said she received one report about soap not being refilled at Central High School and another from a middle school, and the issues were addressed.
In response to further complaints that hand sanitizer dispensers had also not been refilled, Hart said Providence schools in recent years “have not relied on hand sanitizers as a first-line approach to hand washing. However, we are currently working with vendors to procure hand sanitizer supplies for our schools.”
Calabro did not immediately respond to an inquiry about which schools did not have enough soap.
Superintendent Harrison Peters also responded to Calabro on Twitter, writing that Aramark — the school department’s contracted custodial company — has “assured us they have a month’s supply of soap in stock.”
“We need to be able to hold them accountable,” Peters said. “We are also asking school teams to conduct frequent bathroom checks and replenish as needed. This is an ‘all hands effort.'”
Anyone with questions regarding the coronavirus can call the R.I. Department of Health at (401) 222-8022 or visit the department’s website.