Press Releases

Tuesday, September 01, 2020

Highmark West Virginia Inc. donates Back-to-School Toolkits to public schools throughout West Virginia benefiting over 260,000 students and more than 40,000 school personnel

  • Back to school kits contain face coverings and shields, disinfectant wipes, hand sanitizer, signage and resources with best practices

Parkersburg, W.Va. (September 1, 2020) — Highmark West Virginia is helping keep students and staff members safe and healthy in the new academic year by donating personal protective equipment and resources to all K-12 public schools across the state. The donation will benefit over 260,000 students and more than 40,000 school personnel in West Virginia.

 “The challenges school administrators are facing right now as they prepare for a new school year amidst the ongoing pandemic are unprecedented,” shared Jim Fawcett, president of Highmark West Virginia. “Not only does each new school year come with its own set of unique demands, but now schools must also factor in safety protocols to keep students and staff members safe from the spread of COVID-19. At Highmark, we want to show our unwavering support and gratitude for all that they do, especially under the ever-changing circumstances.”

Schools in every county across West Virginia will receive adjustable face coverings to fit a wide age range of students, face shields for teachers and staff members, disinfectant hand wipes, large one-gallon pumps of hand sanitizer, signage containing best practices, and resource guides to assist with the transition to the new school year, courtesy of Highmark. Schools will be allotted predetermined quantities of supplies based on their student and teacher populations.

“Highmark West Virginia is a sterling example of corporate partnership in our state,” said West Virginia Superintendent of Schools W. Clayton Burch. “It has readily stepped in to assist our education community as we approach the beginning of a new school year. The West Virginia Board of Education (WVBE) President Miller Hall, WVBE members, school leaders, teachers and students, join me in expressing our gratitude for this generous support. Highmark has been and remains a key part of our community, and its commitment to West Virginians is critical during these challenging times.”

The back-to-school initiatives are part of Highmark’s larger efforts to help the communities that it serves during and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic. In early April, Highmark and the Highmark Foundation awarded $307,000 in grants to West Virginia organizations focused on helping people in need throughout West Virginia during the COVID-19 pandemic including food banks and community-based health care organizations focused on strengthening their capacity to serve those who are uninsured and underserved in West Virginia.

In early June, Highmark Inc. mobilized local small and diverse businesses to design, manufacture and donate over 1.3 million cloth face coverings to Highmark members across its footprint. Highmark Inc. in collaboration with its affiliated health plans, also donated over 40,000 cloth face coverings to EMS professionals across Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Delaware during National EMS Week in May.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Highmark has taken several proactive measures to ensure that our members, customers and communities are safe and continue to have access to care. For example, we expanded benefits to cover telehealth and inpatient, in-network COVID-19 treatment with no cost-sharing until Dec. 31.

We have also increased options to access to care, supported organizations assisting local communities, ensured that doctors and hospitals are being paid and have provided many resources for members to access help and information.

To support those affected by the pandemic, Highmark Inc. and its affiliated health plans dedicated a web site to answer questions and provide insight to the community and launched a stream of podcasts to assist in understanding issues surrounding COVID-19. 

About Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield West Virginia 
Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield West Virginia serves approximately 246,000 members through the company’s health care benefits business and hundreds of thousands of additional members through the BlueCard® program. Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of West Virginia holds the largest share of the commercial market, and more West Virginians carry a Blue Cross Blue Shield card than any other insurance carrier in the state. With offices in Parkersburg, Charleston and Wheeling, Highmark West Virginia employs more than 700 people and serves as a key economic driver in the state with its total economic impact reaching $262 million. 

For more information, contact:

Cathy McAlister
Highmark Health