State Agencies Will Bring Face Masks To Schools Statewide

Jul 29, 2020

Several state agencies are working together to ensure kids are safe when they return to schools.

The Wyoming Department of Health (WDH), the Wyoming Department of Education and Wyoming Office of Homeland Security are helping distribute 500,000 face coverings between school districts for when students return in the fall. The coverings were paid for by a donation from clothing company Hanes and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

"This pandemic has required state and local collaboration between public and private entities at a level that has not existed in the past," said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow in a press release. "As a result, we're seeing incredible partnerships formed that will hopefully remain permanent. The delivery of these face coverings is one of many accomplishments arising out of these strong state and private partnerships."

According to current state orders, face coverings are required in schools when social distancing isn't an option.

Dirk Dijkstal, section chief of health readiness and response at WDH, said this latest effort isn't the only partnership the agencies have done on PPE, or personal protective equipment.

"Homeland Security and the Department of Health have been working with local emergency managers trying to help fill the void that's been created by the supply chain shock to PPE worldwide," he said.

The face coverings going to schools are cloth masks which are washable and reusable.

"These aren't pediatric masks. It's a one size fits all kind of thing, so it's not exactly a perfect match, but it is 500,000 masks that we are getting out to help supply schools with maybe not only staff, but potentially also students as well," Dijkstal said.

The masks will be distributed by early August.

Have a question about this story? Contact the reporter, Catherine Wheeler, at cwheel11@uwyo.edu.