GEMA handing out millions of masks to schools for teachers and students

Back to school: Where to find masks for children

ATLANTA — Just in time for the start of school, Georgia’s Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency has announced, they’ll be handing out some three million cloth face masks by the end of July.

The masks will go to the Georgia Department of Education and 39 county emergency management agencies throughout the state. Two million of them will head to the Department of Education to handout to students and teachers returning for the coming school year with the schools being allowed to determine the best way to distribute them.

Counties receiving the masks were identified by the Department of Public Health as areas where infection rates are rising or there may be increased risk of transmission. Each county EMA will develop a plan to distribute the face coverings in their communities, paying special attention to the homeless population and economically-challenged areas.

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Since the masks are made of cloth, the state says the they are both washable and reusable, allowing citizens, teachers and students to potentially hang on to them for a longer period of time.

“The distribution of these face coverings is in line with current CDC guidance suggesting that they be used when social distancing measures are hard to maintain,” said GEMA/HS Director Homer Bryson. “Since many carriers of COVID-19 are asymptomatic, they can unwittingly spread the disease to those around them. Wearing a face covering is a simple step that can be taken to reduce the risk of transmission by those infected.”

“As we plan for a return to school this fall, we have worked to provide guidance that is realistic in the K-12 setting, provides for the best possible educational experience for students and – most importantly – keeps students, teachers, staff, and families safe,” State School Superintendent Richard Woods said. “Having access to face coverings is critical as our districts and schools plan for a safe return, and I am grateful for the leadership and partnership of Governor Kemp and GEMA.”

For more information on the Georgia Department of Public Health and Georgia Department of Education’s guidance for a safe return to in-person instruction, visit gadoe.org/K12recovery. For information on Georgia public schools’ COVID-19 response, visit www.gadoe.org/coronavirus.

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