Saturday, April 20, 2024

A group trying to get masks to families with kids in Cambridge schools links to a brand for preschool kids. (Photo: Kollecte)

Volunteers trying to get high-quality masks into the hands of families with kids in Cambridge schools – and perhaps a broader group of residents – are launching a second bulk-ordering campaign starting Tuesday, two days before schools reopen. Students and employees are required to wear masks indoors.

The group has established a website,, where people affiliated with Cambridge schools can order masks with proven quality to be picked up at or near a school they designate. The volunteers will combine the requests into two bulk orders Sept. 7 and Sept. 30 and distribute them to the pickup sites.

“Our goal is for everyone affiliated with [Cambridge Public Schools] to be able to find a mask that they like for all-day wear and that combines breathability with a high degree of protection,” with high filtration and snug fit, the group said in a Sept. 1 message on CPS parents email sites. The masks cost less than $1 each, come in different sizes, can be reused for a week if not damaged during use and come from reputable sellers to reduce the risk of counterfeit products, the message said.

Residents who don’t have a connection with the schools can “piggyback” onto orders by school affiliates, said Amanda Beatty, one of the coordinators,. People can also organize their own groups, order enough masks for them and distribute the masks after picking them up from a school or nearby location.

The volunteers will label masks with the names of students or school employees and have made arrangements with some schools to have staff hand out the masks to students, Beatty said. Jill Crittenden, another coordinator and an MIT neuroscientist who sits on the school district’s Covid-19 task force, has pushed to educate the public about the benefits of high-quality masks and provide information about reliable types, brands and sources.

Crittenden said one person who wants to distribute masks to city employees has contacted her and may piggyback onto Crittenden’s order.

The volunteer group got 800 orders in its first campaign in January and February – about 10,000 masks, Beatty said. It had received 100 orders as of Friday, two days after sending the emails to parents.

The Cambridge Masks group has a created a flyer to help people find the right face covering: