Seven Wood County public school districts have received government-donated masks.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency donated millions of masks to Ohio to be distributed to public schools.
Gov. Mike DeWine then asked the Ohio Educational Service Center Association, through the Ohio Department of Education, to disperse them among the five largest ESCs in the state.
Wood County Educational Service Center Superintendent Mark North drove to Oregon to pick up Wood County’s share, which amounted to nearly 12,500.
North said it works out roughly to one mask per student in the receiving school districts.
“The masks were available if we were willing to get them,” North said.
Elmwood Local Schools Superintendent Tony Borton said the masks are 3M products and are classified as KN90; masks used by doctors are N95. They are not the disposable white and blue masks, he said.
“They’re a little better quality that I thought they would be,” Borton said. “I think we’re going to get multiple wears out of them.”
The school received 1,500, enough for one student and one teacher each. Borton said they are being used as backups in case a student forgot to bring one from home.
“This helps us give kids or staff members … more security that just a cloth mask,” he said.
“If you like them, wear them,” was the message being shared, Borton said.
Eastwood Local Schools has added their 1,800 masks to its stockpile for use by students, staff or community members who might need one.
“It was a nice surprise,” Superintendent Brent Welker said about the donation.
Because the masks from the ESC are KN90, they will be of great use when students or staff are closer together, said Northwood Superintendent Jason Kozina.
Jim Witt, superintendent at Lake Local Schools, said they haven’t yet developed a plan on distributing their 1,950 masks. Classes start until Tuesday and he expects students to supply their own masks.
The number donated is enough for one per student and one per staff member.
“This is new to me,” he said about the donations. “Any help we can get during this we appreciate.”
According to North, the remaining masks went to:
Bowling Green: 3,400
North Baltimore: 900
“I’ve never seen anything like this,” Borton said about the ODE donation.
North also has never known ODE to previously furnish any supplies.
“Never,” he said, “but it’s a different time right now.”