Oakland, CA

Bay Area restaurateur donating 10K KN95 face masks to Oakland students

Built in the Bay

(Patrick Smith / Getty Images)

(OAKLAND, Calif.) Eugene Lee, a business owner whose restaurant Noodle Belly opens on Saturday, jumped into action this week to provide KN95 masks for Oakland students after hearing about a potential student walk-out and mask shortage.

Lee's Noodle Belly is opening in the Fruitvale District this weekend but when he heard Oakland students were in the midst of a mask shortage and struggling to stay safe, he reached out to Mayor Libby Schaaff, who connected him with Oakland Unified School District officials, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

He donated 10,000 KN95 masks that will be distributed throughout the end of this week and early next week.

"The important part was getting these into your hands ASAP to help out during a particularly tough time. You folks have the future in your hands," Lee reportedly said to district leaders.

The district has 200,000 KN95 masks on order for all OUSD students, according to ABC7.

This all comes after an online petition circulated last week where students noted mask shortages and other issues pushing them to support a student-led walkout and a move back to remote learning for safety reasons.

This also comes shortly on the heels of the forced closure of 12 campuses last week due to a staffing shortage.

According to the student petition, they asked the district to provide KN95 or N95 masks for all students and offer twice-weekly PCR and rapid tests for all staff and students, as well as create more outdoor spaces for students amidst ongoing rain.

“Students are not comfortable going to school with the rising cases of COVID-19,” the online petition reads. “If these demands are not met (by Monday), we will be striking by not attending school. We will be striking until we get what we need to be safe.”

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