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More than 100,000 masks donated to Richland One students in first two weeks of school

Published: Aug. 26, 2021 at 7:27 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - On Thursday morning, cardboard boxes were stacked up outside A.J. Lewis Greenview Elementary School in Columbia to help Richland County School District One students mask up.

“We all know, prior to learning, we have to ensure that our boys and girls are safe,” Dr. Lashaunda Evans, Greenview’s principal, said.

A Columbia-based company, Rhino Medical Supply, and University of South Carolina students, who are members of the Zeta Epsilon chapter of the Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity, donated and dropped off more than 30,000 masks, which will be divided among Greenview and four other Richland One schools.

“This is a prime example of where community steps up and supports,” Richland One Superintendent Dr. Craig Witherspoon said.

While state lawmakers passed a one-year law written into the budget this summer that bans schools from enforcing mask mandates, Richland One students and staff are still required to mask up because of local ordinances from the City of Columbia and Richland County.

In just the last two weeks, businesses, churches, and individuals have donated more than 100,000 masks to Richland One students, according to the district, which also said others have given more than $4,000 to be used to purchase more face coverings.

Bible Way Church of Atlas Road donated 10,000 masks Tuesday, and Senior Pastor Darrell Jackson, who is also a Democratic state senator from Richland County, said they hope to give another 10,000 masks later this school year.

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“It makes us feel good that other people are stepping up and saying to District One, ‘You’re not alone.’ Listen, if they made the courageous stand to look out for the safety of our children and their family members, they should not be standing alone,” Jackson said.

Kappa Alpha Psi’s chapter president, Javin Young, said they wanted to show their appreciation for the stance the district is taking.

“For being the people to stand up and say, ‘No, we’re going to take care of our kids first,’” Young said.

He said they also wanted to help because they felt it was their responsibility to the community.

“It was a must for us,” Young said. “It was an absolute must.”

People who would like to make donations to Richland County School District One must complete this form from the district’s procurement services department

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