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Boston Red Sox and Boston Pride Donate 60,000 Reusable Masks to BPS Students, Teachers
BOSTON - Wednesday, September 23, 2020 - Mayor Martin J. Walsh and Boston Public Schools (BPS) Superintendent Brenda Cassellius announced that the Boston Red Sox and JetBlue, in collaboration with the Boston Pride, have donated more than 60,000 reusable masks to BPS students and teachers.
The first day of school for BPS students in all grades was Monday, September 21. BPS will introduce a phased-in, opt-in hybrid learning model no sooner than October 1, beginning with a return to in-person learning for students with the highest needs.
“I’m grateful to the Boston Red Sox, JetBlue and the Boston Pride for this donation and for being true partners to the young people of Boston, investing in their health and well-being by providing reusable masks to Boston Public Schools students,” said Mayor Martin J. Walsh. “‘BPS Red Sox Hat Day’ is one of the many traditions that our young people have recently missed out on due to the pandemic, and I’m happy we were able to continue our partnership with the Red Sox during this school year.”
Wearing masks is a vital part of keeping students, teachers, and staff safe as they reenter school buildings for the new school year. This generous donation from two Boston sports teams ensures that students will be ready to protect themselves, their families, and their school community.
“It is wonderful to have the continued support of the Boston Red Sox, JetBlue and the Boston Pride, who are working with us to ensure our young people keep themselves and their community safe so they are free to focus on their learning, all while supporting their favorite team,” said BPS Superintendent Cassellius. “As we continue to work to ensure the health and well-being of our students and staff for a safe and successful start to the school year, it is support like this that inspires us forward. We are incredibly grateful to the Red Sox organization and their fans across Boston for cheering us all on."
The Red Sox donation of 60,000 face coverings was made in partnership with JetBlue, the official airline of the Boston Red Sox. In addition to this year’s donation, in recent years the two organizations have donated more than 40,000 Red Sox hats annually to BPS children and staff in 104 schools throughout the city. Unfortunately, the annual “Red Sox Hat Day,” scheduled for this past March 30, was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Together, the Red Sox and JetBlue evolved this annual program to meet the need for reusable masks at each school this year.
“Collaboration and strong partnerships will help guide us through this pandemic and we are pleased to support the City’s efforts for the safe return to in-person learning through this donation,” said Red Sox President & CEO Sam Kennedy. “Our partners at JetBlue have allowed us to expand our commitment to Boston Public Schools over the past several years, and while this year we have replaced baseball hats with masks, we are grateful for the opportunity to continue this annual tradition in a meaningful way.”
The Boston Pride’s contribution was supported by their loyal fans, who purchased limited edition pucks, autographed hats, and more to raise money for the cause.
“The Boston community is one we are all so proud to be a part of. It is learned through sport that teamwork and collaboration are keys to success. The same can be said as we work together to prevail through these challenging times,” said Boston Pride Team President Hayley Moore. “The Boston Pride is happy to contribute to creating a safer school environment for all, with this mask donation. We also want to thank our loyal fans for joining us in contributing to this important initiative.”
The 2020-21 school year began for BPS students on September 21 with all students learning remotely. No sooner than October 1, if public health data allows, BPS will begin to phase students into in-person learning, starting with students with the highest needs. Families have previously chosen all-remote learning for their children or have opted into the hybrid model, in which students learn at least two days a week in school and spend the rest of the week learning remotely.
BPS has worked hard over the summer to clean and update facilities, develop health and safety protocols, ensure proper ventilation, facilitate meal distribution, and build upon remote learning for the new year. Along with the cleaning supplies and personal protective equipment (PPE) procured by BPS and provided to every school building, these donated masks will enable students to not only return to learning in their classrooms, but also to the critical services and social emotional support systems that public schools provide.
This donation of masks will supplement the more than 200,000 resulable masks and two million disposable masks the district has purchased for students and teachers, who must wear the face coverings while in school buildings or riding on school buses. More information on the 2020-21 BPS school year is available at bostonpublicschools.org/reopening.