FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Joe Dorman, CEO – Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy
Telephone: (405) 833-1117
MASK Coalition Commercial Running During Super Bowl Coverage
OKLAHOMA CITY (Feb. 3, 2021) – A diverse group of organizations advocating for children, education, and healthcare will run commercials on Oklahoma stations’ Super Bowl LV coverage promoting masks and social distancing to fight COVID-19.
The MASK (Masks Are Saving Kids) Coalition has two advertisements running that feature Jena Nelson, Oklahoma’s 2020 Teacher of the Year. The ads promote common-sense ways to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, based on Centers for Disease Control recommendations to get Oklahoma students back into classrooms safely. The recommendations include:
- Wearing masks when around others,
- Washing hands frequently,
- Watching your distance of at least six feet around others, and
- When it is time, taking your vaccination.
“The Super Bowl provides an unmatched opportunity to reach the maximum number of Oklahomans with our message,” said Joe Dorman, chief executive officer of the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy (OICA). OICA is one of the founding members of the MASK Coalition. “With fewer parties this year, we anticipate many Americans will watch the events leading up to the big game together, so we want to reach those viewers with this important message.”
The MASK Coalition was created in late 2020 to encourage a statewide masking policy for students as they return to the classroom. The founding members included OICA, the Oklahoma State Medical Association (OSMA), Oklahoma Education Association (OEA), Oklahoma Retired Educators Association (OREA), and the Oklahoma Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Joining to help sponsor the commercials are Hearts for Hearing, the Oklahoma Hospital Association, George Kaiser Family Foundation, Oklahoma Conference of Churches, and Pastors for Oklahoma Kids.
One critical element is safety with so many public schools reopening or offering in-person learning soon.
“Everyone agrees that students will be best served by being in classrooms,” said OEA President Alicia Priest. “The challenge, however, is to make sure they return to a safe environment. That is the heart of the MASK Coalition’s work: keeping our students, teachers, and their families safe during this pandemic.”
OSMA President George Monks, M.D., noted that masks make a difference. “The past few months have shown that masking is, without a doubt, one of the most important weapons we have in the fight against coronavirus.” Monks added, “As Oklahoma’s COVID-19 per capita infections remain high and the vaccination efforts continue, it’s absolutely essential we work together to mitigate the spread of this disease, whether it’s at work, in public, or in our classrooms.”
That point was reiterated by Dwight Sublett, M.D., F.A.A.P., president of the Oklahoma Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics. He pointed to COVID-19 transmission rates in areas of the state with mask ordinances compared to those without one.
“We have seen that COVID-19 cases grew by 88% in areas without mask policies, while the growth rate among Oklahomans under a mask ordinance was only 21%,” Dr. Sublett related. “Even the most die-hard skeptic cannot deny that fact. Masks are the easiest way to slow the spread of COVID-19.”
Dorman concluded by expressing thanks to the CBS affiliates in Oklahoma for helping the MASK Coalition make the Super Bowl ad buy.
“The stations were very helpful,” he said. “It will take all of us working together beat this deadly disease. While there is good news for the first time with the number of new cases dropping following the outbreak due to holiday gatherings and a vaccine being distributed, we must continue to be vigilant. Masking, washing hands, social distancing, and the vaccine are all necessary to keep our children and their families safe.”
For those who would like to support this initiative, please go to maskok.org to learn more about how to help.