State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond has announced that the California Department of Education (CDE) will distribute 500,000 face masks donated by General Motors (GM) to schools in need across the state.
“The safety of our students, educators and families is paramount as California school districts make important decisions about returning to in-person instruction, and access to a supply of personal protective equipment is essential for any school to reopen,” said Thurmond. “GM’s contribution bolsters the resources available to schools at a time when we all need to continue to remain vigilant against the spread of COVID-19.”
The state’s public health guidance for schools requires the use of face coverings for all staff and most students on school campuses. The CDE is working with county offices of education across California to distribute the GM donation and prioritize communities experiencing disproportionate COVID-19 health risks, such as the families of farmworkers, African American and Latino students, students of essential workers and California tribal communities.
“We are proud to donate 500,000 masks to help California schools plan and prepare for a safe return to in-person instruction,” said Gerald Johnson, GM Executive Vice President of Global Manufacturing. “Education is fundamental to our future, and we are grateful to be able to give back to our communities at such a unique moment in history.”
GM first decided to produce face masks on March 20, as the coronavirus pandemic created a critical shortage worldwide. Today, GM’s facility in Warren, Michigan, has two production lines for face masks and a third line making N95 face respirators. To date, the facility has produced more than 10 million masks, with production going to employees at GM facilities or donated to community organizations.