To assist with Providence Public Schools’ pandemic response, Fall River-based manufacturer Matouk will donate 50,000 adult and children’s reusable cloth face masks for the reopening of schools this fall. A family-owned business, Matouk specializes in handcrafted fine linens.

CEO George Matouk and Creative Director Mindy Matouk explain the motivation behind their donation as follows: “We have lived in Providence for 20 years and feel a deep sense of gratitude to the educational professionals who have remained committed to educating our leaders of tomorrow under what are sometimes very difficult circumstances.”

“When we learned that the school system needed face protection for its students and professionals to safely return to school in the fall, we knew this was an area where we could make a difference, and we are grateful that Superintendent Peters gave us the opportunity to help. While our company has supported PPSD as a City Year Red Jacket sponsor for several years now, the pandemic gave us a particularly strong sense of urgency to increase our support.”

After moving to distance learning this spring due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Providence Public School District is currently making plans to reopen school buildings for classes this fall. Those plans include protocols for wearing face masks in a number of situations. 

Following CDC and health guidance, the latest version of the district’s reopening plan requires that all students and staff wear masks during school arrival and dismissal, when riding school buses and when in common areas where a minimum of six feet of separation cannot be guaranteed. Masks are recommended but not required in common spaces where six feet of distance can be maintained and in classrooms of “stable groups” made up of the same individuals over time.

Superintendent of Providence Public Schools Harrison Peters said, “The job of educating our students is the collective reasonability of the school district and the community. We are grateful for the Matouk family for stepping into this responsibility and supporting education when we need support the most.  The safety of our students and staff is our top concern, and the Matouks’ generous donation will provide our community with an important layer of protection as we reopen schools.” 

Peters added that while students will be expected to wear their own masks to school every day, the Matouk donation will allow the district to issue each student a free reusable mask at the start of the school year.

The two-ply masks are 100% cotton, safe for machine washing and drying, and come in three sizes. Each mask has a nose wire and elastics for around the ears and is personalized with the Providence Public School District logo. Constructed by Matouk production partners in the Philippines, the masks use 350-thread count Sierra sheeting fabric and are OEKO-TEK Standard 100 certified.

Established in 1929 in New York City, family-owned Matouk has handcrafted luxury linens from the world’s finest materials for nearly 100 years. Our factory in Fall River, Massachusetts is home to a tight-knit family of artists, craftspeople and business professionals who are uniquely attuned to the needs of American consumers, earning the loyalty of generations of customers. Matouk bed linens, bath towels and table linens are currently available at www.matouk.com, Bloomingdale’s and more than 150 independently owned fine linen stores across the country. ​

The Providence Public School District (PPSD) serves approximately 24,000 students in 22 elementary schools, 7 middle schools, 10 high schools and a public district charter school. Approximately 65% of our students are Latinx, 16% Black, 9% White, 5% Asian, 4% Multi-racial and 1% Native American. Approximately 31% of students are multilingual learners, and about 16% of students receive special education services. Approximately 55% of students come from homes where English is not the primary language spoken.

For more information on the school district, visit www.providenceschools.org.