SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — Georgia Southern University (GSU) has partnered with the Georgia Department of Public Health to manage COVID-19 mitigation efforts in Georgia K-12 schools. GSU announced the $15.7 million contract on Monday.

“Despite the belief by many that COVID-19 is no longer a concern, the virus that causes COVID-19 continues to have an impact across the globe,” said Jessica Schwind, Ph.D., director of GSU’s Institute for Health Logistics & Analytics (IHLA). “This impact, coupled with increasing rates of flu and respiratory syncytial virus, can be readily observed in our K-12 schools.”

IHLA staff will plan mitigation strategies for the school through resource acquisition and delivery. Schwind’s team will review proposals and offer assistance to the schools to ensure items ordered are effective against stopping the spread of COVID-19.

Some of the mitigation efforts include, high-efficiency particulate air fan/filtration systems and other personal protective equipment to reduce exposure.

“This is a comprehensive project that will go a long way toward keeping our youngest Georgians safe,” said Schwind, who also is an associate professor of epidemiology in Georgia Southern’s Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health. “This project provides funding for schools to upgrade their ventilation and filtration systems, which will in turn help mitigate other common airborne viruses. It’s one of the most powerful tools we have to reduce the overall impact of respiratory diseases.”

All schools are eligible to participate.