Schools in Agassiz, Harrison, Hope and Boston Bar will be able to provide more masks for students and staff, after the province allocated nearly 3,000 donated masks to the district.
At the Dec. 15 school board meeting, secretary-treasurer Natalie Lowe shared that the Ministry of Education had received a donation of 500,000 masks from the convenience store company 7-Eleven.
The donation was part of a multi-province campaign to provide masks and hand sanitizer to schools in Manitoba, Alberta, B.C., and Saskatchewan.
At the meeting, Lowe said the ministry had divided up the donated masks among school districts deemed the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Surrey will receive the largest share of masks, with nearly 110,000 heading to schools for the new year, while districts such as Chilliwack and Delta will receive in the 20,000 range.
The Fraser Cascade school district, one of the smallest districts on the list, is set to receive nearly 3,000 masks as part of the donation. According to 7-Eleven, the masks arrived on Dec. 9, although due to a mix-up they were not processed until the new year.
The district had already purchased two reusable masks for every student and staff member in the district, which were distributed in September.
The district also has a number of disposable masks at the schools, which is an ongoing expense.
The provincial government had given the district $157,714 in COVID-19 relief funding, including $7,846 for masks. That funding has all been spent.
The donated masks will help ensure “we have the appropriate safety wear in all of our schools, because it is an ongoing expenditure we would otherwise have to make,” Lowe said during the school board meeting.
“I think it’s really amazing how people are stepping up and helping communities like this.”
The breakdown of mask donations is as follows:
New Westminster: 9,974
Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows: 22,447
North Vancouver: 23,946
West Vancouver: 10,805
Sea to Sky: 7,633
Conseil scolaire francophone: 9,862