FEMA Says It Will No Longer Pay For Cloth Face Masks For Schools
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is changing its policy on personal protective equipment the agency will cover, federal officials announced in a Tuesday call with state and tribal emergency managers.
- NPR reported that the changes sparked concern among emergency managers, as “FEMA will no longer reimburse states for the cost of cloth face coverings at nonemergency settings, including schools, public housing and courthouses.”
- FEMA’s assistant administrator for recovery, Keith Turi, said on the call that the new policy will take effect on September 15. At that time, “personal protective equipment for nonemergency settings will be classified as ‘increased operating costs’ for public services and thus will not be covered by the agency's Public Assistance Program,” the news outlet wrote.
"Supporting schools and other functions — courthouses and other related functions – are not a direct emergency protective measures and therefore they're not eligible for [Public Assistance]," Turi said on the conference call.
- FEMA said the agency “will still provide personal protective equipment, including cloth face masks, for medical care, some medical sheltering, mass casualty management and other settings.”
- NPR noted that “There was immediate consternation among the government officials on the call.”
- Turi also said that masks are not the only protective measure affected by the policy changes:
The federal government will stop paying for some disinfection costs unless they are considered an emergency protective measure, Turi said.
Another change: As of Sept. 15, FEMA will only provide stockpiling funding for a 60-day supply of personal protective equipment from the date of purchase. Previously, a specific date was not specified.
NPR noted that following its publication of the story, “a spokesperson for the Department of Health and Human Services said in an email to NPR that 'schools in need will still receive cloth face masks' from HHS rather than FEMA.”