United Way donates over 5,000 masks to Onslow County Schools

Superintendent Barry Collins says it’s enough to distribute at least one to each of the district’s teachers and staff.
Published: Jul. 21, 2020 at 7:49 PM EDT
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JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - Masks are required for every student, teacher, and staff this school year, and a school district in the east just got a trunk-load of them.

The United Way of Onslow County donated over 5,000 re-usable face masks to Onslow County Schools. United Way of Onslow County President Raquel Painter says they saw a need, and wanted to do their part to fill it.

“They do amazing work for our children and their well-being and the future of our communities,” said Painter. “So, United Way wants to do its part to assist them when anything comes up.”

Superintendent Barry Collins says the donation is enough to give at least one to the district’s over 4,000 teachers and staff, but he expects more would be needed.

“Whether it’s a face covering whether its hand sanitizer, whether it’s some type of disinfectant wipes all of those are very helpful,” said Collins. “They will be utilized in our schools. We’ve got over 40 sites with 27,000 students. You can imagine how many classrooms are going to have to be cleaned.”

It’s a major relief for teachers like Chris Meek, who already have enough to worry about for this school year.

“Any help that our schools can get especially under these times is crucial to ensure that our kids get the best education possible under our circumstances,” said Meek. “But, they shouldn’t have to do that.”

Meek says the donation speaks to a larger issue. One that shows that the state isn’t putting enough money into public schools.

“They’ve been cutting funding to public schools for the last ten years. In that time, our per-pupil spending has gone down,” said Meek.

Gov. Roy Cooper’s executive order on re-opening schools announced last week required schools to enforce a mask mandate for students, teachers, and staff. Meek says the state needs to do more than that to support their educators on a rainy day.

“We’ve had two rainy days,” said Meek. “We had Florence last year, where our students were out for six to eight weeks. And we had this this year. Those aren’t rainy days, those are monsoons.”

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