Massachusetts Association of Vocational Administrators Executive Director Kevin Farr is pleased to report that several vocational schools in Massachusetts are addressing the shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) during the COVID-19 pandemic by 3D printing face shields for local healthcare workers and first responders.
Shortly after the pandemic began, ideas and plans for 3D printing PPE equipment began to spread by word of mouth. Many local educators started thinking of ways to produce the face shields by adapting the plans to fit the printing equipment they already had.
“I first started reading about schools who were 3D printing face shields on social media, and thought it was a terrific idea,” Executive Director Farr said. “I was more than happy to reach out to the people I knew who were leaders at their schools and present the idea to them. I think the way these schools have responded has been terrific.”
One such school is Essex North Shore Agricultural & Technical School in Danvers. Technology Director Joseph Marino worked with the engineering staff to come up with a plan to make the shields on-site in the Essex Tech engineering technology center.
“We have access to the printers here at the school, and we have teams that put them together and distribute as many as we can to our local first responders and emergency departments,” said Essex Tech Director of Workforce Development and Adult Education Bonnie Carr. “From everything we’ve read there is a great need for more PPE, so we are doing our part with the technology that we possess.”
The Essex Tech staff has the capability to produce six shields every four to five hours, and have already produced more than 120 in the past three weeks.
Bristol-Plymouth Regional Vocational Technical School CAD teacher Joseph Ford has been printing masks at his home, after requesting that the school give him access to the machines during the closure.
“This whole endeavor really speaks to the type of education we strive for at a vocational school,” said Bristol-Plymouth Superintendent-Director Dr. Alexandre Magalhaes. “We always tell our students that the skills they learn matter. It means a lot that Joe has stepped up and is doing what he can to help out. Not only is it providing life-saving equipment to those in need, but it proves to our students that they can really make a difference in the world with the skills they are learning.”