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California Department of Education
News Release
California Department of Education
News Release
Release: #20-85
October 22, 2020
Contact: Communications
Phone: 916-319-0818

State Superintendent Tony Thurmond Announces Donation of 500,000 Face Masks by General Motors to Aid Safe School Reopening

SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond today announced that the California Department of Education (CDE) will distribute 500,000 face masks donated by General Motors (GM) to schools in need across the state.

“The safety of our students, educators, and families is paramount as California school districts make important decisions about returning to in-person instruction, and access to a supply of personal protective equipment is essential for any school to reopen,” said Thurmond. “We are grateful for GM’s partnership and dedication to the safety and well-being of California students and educators during this public health crisis. GM’s contribution bolsters the resources available to schools at a time when we all need to continue to remain vigilant against the spread of COVID-19.”

The state’s public health guidance for schools External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF) requires the use of face coverings for all staff and most students on school campuses. The CDE is working with county offices of education across California to distribute the GM donation and prioritize communities experiencing disproportionate COVID-19 health risks, such as the families of farmworkers, African American and Latino students, students of essential workers, and California tribal communities.

“We are proud to donate 500,000 masks to help California schools plan and prepare for a safe return to in-person instruction,” said Gerald Johnson, GM Executive Vice President of Global Manufacturing. “Education is fundamental to our future, and we are grateful to be able to give back to our communities at such a unique moment in history.”

In addition to donating 500,000 masks to California schools, GM provided a $1 million grant to the DonorsChoose Keep Kids Learning program in April to provide resources such as school supplies, food, and cleaning supplies to families in high-need school districts across the country. The grant benefited 106 classes in California at Stephen C. Foster Elementary School in Compton, Humphreys Avenue Elementary School in Los Angeles, and Markham Elementary School in Oakland.

GM first decided to produce face masks on March 20, 2020, as the coronavirus pandemic created a critical shortage worldwide. Today, GM’s facility in Warren, Michigan, has two production lines for face masks and a third line making N95 face respirators External link opens in new window or tab.. To date, the facility has produced more than 10 million masks, with production going to employees at GM facilities or donated to community organizations. For more information, please visit the General Motors Stories web page External link opens in new window or tab..

An archived broadcast of Thursday’s full media check-in with the State Superintendent can be viewed on the CDE Facebook page External link opens in new window or tab..

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Tony Thurmond — State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Communications Division, Room 5602, 916-319-0818, Fax 916-319-0100

Last Reviewed: Wednesday, December 27, 2023
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