ND schools getting cloth masks to fight COVID-19

Richelle Redmond, of the North Dakota Department of Health (maroon and gray shirt), and Janet Schmidt of the North Dakota Department of Emergency Services (denim jacket) pack face masks at a warehouse in south Bismarck, N.D., for shipment to North Dakota schools on Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020. The mask shipments are a cooperative project by the state departments of health and emergency services, the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

North Dakota schools will be getting shipments of cloth masks soon to help inhibit the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

The North Dakota Department of Public Instruction, in partnership with the North Dakota Department of Emergency Services, the state Department of Health, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, are providing cloth masks for students and faculty.

North Dakota is receiving almost 160,000 masks. The allocation is based on North Dakota’s number of students from low-income families. The emphasis is on first providing masks to students who come from low-income households, and/or who are at higher risk.

Gov. Doug Burgum announced last week that students and adults in schools who have been in close contact with a person infected with COVID-19 do not have to quarantine, if both the close contact and the infected person were both wearing masks properly when they were in contact.

“Mask use among students, teachers, administrators and school support personnel not only promotes public health, it can reduce the number of quarantines necessary if there are close contacts with someone who is infected with the virus,” State Superintendent of Public Education Kirsten Baesler said.

Shipments of large masks, for use for adults and students in grades 7-12, are being distributed beginning this week. Smaller masks, which are intended for students in grades K-6, will be distributed once they arrive in North Dakota.

The masks are being sent to public school districts, which will be responsible for sharing them with nonpublic schools in their communities.

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