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Ky. first lady starts Coverings for Kids program

Kentucky first lady Britainy Beshear on Tuesday announced a new program, Coverings for Kids, which helps Kentuckians to donate facial coverings directly to local school districts.

The first lady said facial coverings are proven to help reduce the spread of the coronavirus and are critical to reopening schools safely and keeping children, educators and families safe.

“As a mom, nothing is more important to me than protecting each one of Kentucky’s children, as well as the teachers and staff who work hard every day to help them learn and grow,” said Mrs. Beshear. “Kentuckians generosity is unmatched, and during this pandemic this program will help ensure each school has enough masks to protect their students and staff.”

The first lady and Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman unveiled the campaign to school district leaders Tuesday afternoon during a webcast with superintendents hosted by the Kentucky Department of Education.  The first lady said each district will choose how donated coverings are distributed.

Most districts plan to give coverings to children who may need extra coverings, knowing that students may lose or break their masks or get them dirty throughout the school day.  Donations also will be provided to teachers.

“This program allows all of us to show our schools how much we appreciate and support them,” she said.

“One of my top priorities throughout this pandemic has been to safely reopen our schools,” said Gov. Andy Beshear. “I am incredibly proud of how Kentuckians are stepping up to protect each other and slow the spread of COVID-19 and I am proud of Britainy for stepping up to ensure all of our children have access to face coverings we know are vital to saving lives and reopening our schools.”

School districts will set up donation centers and appoint local coordinators. The Office of the First Lady and Office of the Lieutenant Governor, through the Department of education, will provide each school district with a donation tracking form and an outreach packet, including language, graphics, drafted social media posts and emails for promotion.

School districts that have chosen to start the year with non-traditional instruction, known as NTI, or that move to NTI at any point during the year still can participate in the “Coverings for Kids” program.  Districts on NTI could store donated masks until schools reopen or distribute masks to students during NTI for them to use in other settings where masks are required.

Both child- and adult-size facial coverings are accepted. The coverings can be bought or homemade. There are links to tutorials and patterns that include both child and adult sizes on the Coverings for Kids web page.

Starting on Tuesday, Aug. 11, individuals can drop off facial coverings at district-level donation centers. Those locations will be announced soon. For more information and updates on the program, visit FirstLady.ky.gov/CoveringsForKids.