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2.5 million free masks to be distributed to Illinois public schools

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Published: Aug. 13, 2020 at 10:06 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (KWQC) - The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) and the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) are distributing 2.5 million free face masks to public schools around the state.

In an ISBE news release, the board says the free masks will help ensure every child may access the learning opportunities provided by their school, regardless of their ability to purchase a face covering or make one at home.

ISBE says the state has procured 2.5 million cloth masks to equip every student and staff member in all Illinois public schools.

To date, ISBE and IEMA have shipped 2.3 million to schools. Both are also distributing face shields that school personnel and students may wear in addition to the cloth masks for increased protection.

According to the news release, wearing face coverings is a requirement for all students and teachers in Illinois schools this fall.

“Medical experts have determined that wearing face coverings is essential to safely reopen our schools for in-person instruction,” said State Superintendent of Education Dr. Carmen I. Ayala. “We encourage schools to communicate with students and families about the importance of wearing their face covering to protect themselves, their neighbors, their grandparents, and their teachers.”

ISBE says providing the free cloth masks will help reduce the burden on individual school districts to procure PPE and frees up local resources for other expenses.

Public schools may request additional PPE following the process outlined at www.isbe.net/Documents/PPE-Info.pdf.

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