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Special delivery: Over 500,000 protective face masks transported to Salt Lake International Airport

A delivery of over 500,000 protective face masks came into Salt Lake International Airport this morning. The protective face coverings are going to students and teachers across Utah that will be returning to classrooms this fall.(PHOTO: KSL Newsradio)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — Talk about buying in bulk. Wednesday morning, a delivery of over 500,000 protective face masks came into Salt Lake International Airport.

Special delivery from “The Dreamlifter”

The massive shipment came on what’s called ‘The Dreamlifter’ – a converted Boeing 747-400 Large Cargo Freighter.

The delivery is part of the state’s “A Mask For Every Utahn” initiative. These protective face coverings, which the state obtained from H.M. Cole and Cotopaxi, are going specifically to students and teachers across Utah who will be returning to classrooms this fall. 

“We want these students to be able to go back to school in the fall… it’s key,” explained State Superintendent of Public Instruction Syd Dickson. “It’s so important for their academic well-being, their mental health and their growth overall. We want them to be able to do so in a safe and healthy manner.”

Masks going to educators and students

Dickson notes the masks will be distributed to school districts with the greatest need across the state. Since it’s part of the “Mask for Every Utahn” initiative, the districts will not be charged in any way. Most of those districts are currently ramping up for what will be an unusual opening in a few months.

“The State Board of Education has put together a framework and a plan with requirements and recommendations,” says Dickson. “Each of our districts and charter schools will be submitting plans by August 1. Those plans will include ways to think about movement in our schools, proximity [and] respiratory output. Masks are an important part of that for the adults in our building and for students.”

Boeing donated the cost of the mission transport, with Atlas Air operating the flight on behalf of Boeing. Both Flexport and UPS helped coordinate customs assistance for the PPE shipment.

Wednesday marked Boeing’s 12th COVID-19-related cargo transport mission since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.