At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Union County Incident Management Team started fielding requests for face coverings. The team tapped Robin Maille, an assistant professor of practice in the Oregon State University Extension Service Family and Community Health Program. to fulfill those requests. Maille represents Extension on the Union County Emergency Preparedness Coalition, which is comprised of representatives from various agencies.
In response, Maille identified sources of face coverings, materials for making the coverings, and fulfilled requests as needed. Then in the summer, the largest request came from the La Grande School District, which requested 1,000 face coverings for kids and adults returning to school in the fall. Maille, who is vice chair of the La Grande School Board, kept track of the number of face coverings that were being made for the district. Working from a list of 18 people, five were "super sew-ers" and completed an array of colorful face coverings that were sorted and delivered to the five schools in the district.
Overall, more than 1,030 face coverings were distributed to schools, the health department, transit center and individuals in Union County from June through September.