Valley purchases cloth masks for faculty and students

Reusable masks with the school colors and logo will be free to staff and students that come to campus.

By Gabriel Arizon, Editor-in-Chief

President Gribbons models the new Valley College face masks outside of his office. Over the summer, 10,000 masks were purchased for students and staff. (Photo by Ava Rosate/The Valley Star)

Valley College has purchased 10,000 reusable masks decorated with the school colors and logo with the intent to distribute them to faculty members and students.

Yellow and green cloth masks — adorned with the Valley and Los Angeles Community College District logos — were bought by Valley using CARES Act funding at $2 apiece, receiving them in August. According to Valley President Barry Gribbons, a reusable mask will be given out to every employee and every student who attends in-person classes. The school also plans to distribute leftover masks to other students.

These reusable masks, according to Gribbons, will be cost effective (they are cheaper than buying disposable masks) and environmentally friendly. Though the president could not give a definitive figure on how much the school has spent on disposable masks, he did say that the school has been buying them for about$1 each since the lockdown in March.

“Looking throughout the year, we anticipate quite a few people being on campus once or twice, so we want to make sure we have the masks on hand and we’re not trying to procure them after we need them,” Gribbons said. “Given that the total cost is so low, we thought it would be prudent to have a stock on campus and distribute out the masks to folks who might need them.”

Valley was looking to purchase additional masks — alongside City College, Mission and Trade-Tech — but a rescission notice from the district issued on Oct. 8 delayed the process. Gribbons said the school will likely not receive more masks until at least January.

According to recommendations by the CDC, people should choose a mask that has two layers of washable, breathable fabric, completely covers the nose and mouth, fits snugly against the side of their face and does not have gaps. It is not recommended that a person wear a mask made of a fabric that makes it hard to breathe, like vinyl, or one with a exhalation valve, as it allows virus particles to escape.

In a report by UC San Francisco, it was found that masks were able to significantly reduce the spread of the coronavirus by stopping water droplets, and it was suggested that the best mask is one that can be worn comfortably and consistently.

“I think the biggest thing with COVID now that shapes all of this guidance on masks is that we can’t tell who’s infected,” said Dr. Peter Chin-Hong, an infectious disease specialist at UCSF. “You can’t look at a crowd and say, oh, that person should wear a mask. There’s a lot of asymptomatic infection, so everyone has to wear a mask.”