In response to the shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) for healthcare workers across the country treating patients during the coronavirus pandemic, school districts and colleges are taking matters into their own hands to meet the demanding needs.
Escambia County School District (FL)
In Pensacola, FL, teachers from five Escambia County School District (ECSD) high schools collectively donated more than 700 pairs of safety goggles to Ascension Sacred Heart Hospital. When Superintendent Malcolm Thomas received the special request for goggles that healthcare workers could use when interacting with confirmed and potential positive COVID-19 patients, he knew just the people to call: the Science Department!
Altogether, the five high schools’ science teachers rounded up 763 pairs of safety goggles to be donated to Sacred Heart. ECSD says Sacred Heart employees were appreciative, put the goggles to use immediately and will be cleaned and used repeatedly.
“As everyone navigates this COVID-19 crisis, it is our pleasure to assist a hospital in our local medical community by sharing supplies we won’t need while we deliver education online, and I commend our Science Department for their quick response,” says Superintendent Thomas.
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Bossier Parish Community College (LA)
Bossier Parish Community College (BPCC) is partnering with local companies to produce face shield masks for healthcare workers. Lamont Lackman, Assistant Professor and Industrial Technology Program Director, is currently making the frame for two different face shield designs for two different companies. The Industrial Technology lab, housed in BPCC’s Division of Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, has 10 3D printers, eight of which are being used for this project.
Printing the parts at BPCC is only a single step toward a finished product. Parts are being delivered to private companies for final assembly and distribution to medical groups in need.
According to infectious disease experts, wearing face shields can help prolong the life of the masks that doctors and nurses are quickly running out of. These shields protect the face from splashes, sprays and spatter of bodily fluids, protecting healthcare workers from coughs and sneezes of potentially positive COVID-19 patients.
BPCC is proud to join the nationwide effort of using 3D-printers to produce and deliver medical supplies to areas where they are needed. Megan Bange, Dean of Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, told the Bossier Press that helping in this critical endeavor is part of fulfilling the college’s mission.
“The mission of the college is to support the community and the people of our community; we are pleased to be able to do our part to help support the individuals in our area hospitals and medical facilities,” Bange said.
She also praised Lackman’s work with the project. “This is just another example of the fantastic faculty members we have at BPCC,” she said. “Lamont is one of the top faculty in the Division of Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics with his work to help students excel, evolve his program to fit industry needs, and now, to use his talents to help support the healthcare workers in the Shreveport/Bossier area.”
In addition to printing medical supplies, BPCC’s nursing school (which is temporarily closed to students) donated face masks, gloves and gowns to be used by first responders and medical professionals in need of PPE in the fight against COVID-19 in their community.
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North East Independent School District (TX)
NEISD librarians and teachers at Driscoll Middle School are using their high-tech tools to make in-demand PPE and medical supplies, teaching students a valuable lesson.
When Driscoll School Librarian Jessica Carver heard about the shortage of PPE for healthcare workers, she immediately reached out to Terry Sanchez, the director of library services at the district, to see how they could contribute to the crisis using their 3D printers.
“I think it’s just a really important piece of technology for students to understand,” Carver told KENS 5 News. “I’m really excited that we’re getting to use it in this capacity.”
With the help of industrial design company CanOpener labs, 20 librarians – soon to be joined by 40 to 50 career and technology teachers – have been printing face mask-parts to send to area hospitals.
Carver also thinks that the effort will leave an impression on her students for years to come.
“I think they’ll be happy to know that their school is helping their community and i think they’ll be excited to see the technology they have access to could be used someday in their jobs and in their fields whatever they may be doing.”