RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Wearing face masks has become common in 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic. And for CoStar Group, being able to give back to the local community by providing masks became a priority this school year.

“When (CoStar Group) came to Richmond… we knew we wanted to be involved in the community when we got here,” said Lisa Ruggles, Senior Vice President of Global Analytics, Research and News.

With that involvement in mind, 180,000 masks will be distributed to students at Richmond Public Schools. So far 90,000 have been handed out.

A backpack giveaway with PPE kits was held before the school year began for RPS, organized by CoStar Group in partnership with VCU and Communities in Schools. Within PPE kits, students from kindergarten through eighth grade received five masks and will receive another five through participation in the “Mighty Mask Design Challenge.”

This challenge involves RPS students designing masks and winners will be announced at the end of October when the final 90,000 masks will be distributed.

Ruggles said one of the positive aspects of this partnership is, “Having kids have the ability to design their own masks and have some pride in seeing someone wear a mask that they designed.”

RPS art teachers Bradley Kopelove and Shannon Foster-Williams think the idea is a great way for students to be involved and showcase their creativity.

“I think it’s a good opportunity for students to see how their art can connect with their community,” said Foster-Williams.

“The students can see a connection through this art project of how their art can influence their community,” said Kopelove. “I enjoy the platform of them putting it on masks and being able to see art in a different way.”