Bothwell Foundation Steps Up With Masks For Schools

Judy Kramer
County Reporter
Warsaw, Lincoln and Cole Camp public schools have recently received white, three-ply masks for students and staff with embroidered school logos in school colors. This important safety gear, that also promotes school spirit, was donated by the Bothwell Foundation after it received a community donation and a grant from Katy Trail.
“Schools have a lot of difficult decisions to make with limited funding,” said Bothwell Foundation Director Lauren Thiel-Payne. “We wanted to use our funds where they were most needed, and since COVID-19 cases are on the rise, we decided on the masks so schools don’t have to buy them.”
The Bothwell Foundation purchased the masks from Birdman Apparel, in Warsaw, at a “good price.” Masks were delivered to schools in Benton and Pettis Counties beginning last week. Thiel-Payne said that the Foundation would play things by ear to determine if another batch of masks will be needed later on in the school year. If they are needed a second time, then the Foundation will do some fundraising to pay for them.
Warsaw Superintendent Dr. Sean Poyser said that his district received the masks, embroidered in green, last week and they were passed out early this week.  He said that Hanes had also donated 3,000 plain masks to the district.
Cole Camp said that many students started school with their own masks, but for those without them disposable masks were issued when they boarded the school bus in the morning and when entering the building. These masks were designed with school logos embroidered in blue and definitely helped saved the district some money.
Lincoln Superintendent Kevin Smith said that the district purchased 1500 disposal masks at the beginning of the school year, and also had plain masks from Hanes. He said that a local ladies auxiliary group also donated 300 masks. The district received its masks embroidered in red logos on Monday.
“Staff and students wear masks everywhere they can’t social distance, in the halls and the classroom, but can take them off to eat,” said Superintendent Smith. “Students generally eat in the classroom, but there is some rotation of classes to the cafeteria where social distancing is practiced.”
Superintendent Smith said that the first week of school went well with the kids handling it well and with the staff glad to be back.
The Missouri Times reported in July 2020 that Missouri’s Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) and Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) had released a document containing guidance on reopening for the upcoming school year. It said in part that “Face coverings are an important strategy to reduce transmission of the novel coronavirus primarily by reducing the spread of infection from the wearer to those around….Face coverings should be considered for all age groups during periods when students are not cohorted or cannot physically distance….The state’s guidance suggests limiting the use of masks for younger students who may find them distracting, but ‘encouraged’ masks for middle and high school students, as well as teachers and staff.”