Better Masks to Support APS Staff

 
THE SHORT STORY...
 
This is a really simple fundraiser by parents, teachers, and staff members across all APS schools and the transportation team. We are raising money to provide high quality "real deal" masks for staff. These high-filtration masks are designed specifically to prevent infection from an airborne disease like COVID-19.
 
THE LONG STORY...
 
In the past week, we collected checks, cash, and Venmo payments; drove to Home Depots and hardware stores in three states; and accepted big boxes of donated N95s from community members. We had ordered several thousand masks in bulk over winter break, in case they were needed. It turned out that such masks were definitely needed and much appreciated by staff! We were able to collect enough N95s to give one extra quality mask to more than 6,000 workers in APS when they returned to school buildings this month (January).
 
Ideally, we would be able to raise enough funds to provide three more American-made and NIOSH-approved N95 masks to approximately 7,000 staff members as quickly as possible. About $3-$6 per staff member could help us provide extra PPE for several weeks, in addition to a limited number of KN95 masks that APS is providing.
 
Our immediate goal is to generate another $8,000 that allows us to provide at least ONE MORE top quality mask that can be worn for up to a week of work to every employee — teachers, office staff, specialists, custodians, cafeteria workers, extended day staff, bus drivers and bus assistants — as soon as possible. We want to show our support for APS staff this month as they try to keep schools operating in an intensely difficult situation.
 
We are working to source 3m Aura and Vflex N95s, DemeTECH flat fold N95s, as well as some duckbill and cup style N95s. Due to persistent supply shortages, we may need to bolster this effort with Bluna FaceFit KF94 masks that were reviewed by engineer and "mask nerd" Aaron Collins at 99% filtration efficiency; this is a favorite mask recommended by some of our teachers and parents. These fit more closely to the face than a surgical or cloth mask, in addition to their high filtration material, and are comfortable to wear.
 
We hope this effort helps staff members access and try several styles of masks so they can find one that is a good fit for them. Many staff had never tried an N95 with a low pressure drop, which means it's breathable — in some cases more comfortable than a tightly worn cloth mask or a "double mask."
 
Better masks also provide better source control, preventing the spread of COVID-19 if someone is sick and they may not realize they are infectious. If two individuals are wearing N95 masks, and one has COVID-19, infection risk can be reduced to less than 1%. Depending on the study, "hi-fi" masks are between 20 and 200 times more protective than less well-fitting cloth and surgical masks. The below chart is adapted from a Jan. 10th WSJ article, showing the protective benefits of upgrading our face masks during a pandemic surge.
 
 
Many of these masks are much cheaper and easier to acquire if we work together and purchase them in bulk. We want to make sure that less well-resourced schools get access to extra masks for their staff as well.
 
Please support us in our efforts, and help APS staff access PPE. Thanks for your help!

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Fundraising team (5)

Christina Headrick 
Organizer
Arlington, VA
Christine Bolon 
Team member
Gilda Acosta 
Team member
Melissa Daddio 
Team member
Mona Tarpley 
Team member