CHARLESTON — The West Virginia Department of Education announced today that schools and career technical education (CTE) centers are assisting in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic by donating more than 65,000 protective items to healthcare workers and first responders. Along with supplies, which include personal protective equipment (PPE), 28 CTE centers have also made and donated 700 masks and 400 face shields thanks to their 3D printing and technical capabilities.
Nationally, healthcare workers and first responders have requested more medical supplies and equipment to meet the crushing demand caused by the spread of COVID-19. In West Virginia, Governor Jim Justice has taken several steps to attempt to mitigate the community spread of the virus. During this time, hospitals continue to brace for the impact the disease could have on the aging population in the Mountain State.
Schools donated boxes of unused PPE to the Cabell-Huntington Health Department in an effort to assist first responders and health care workers on the frontline of the pandemic. In Greenbrier, Fayette, Kanawha and Lincoln counties, educators and volunteers have been using 3D printers to create masks for area hospitals. And both Berkeley County Schools and Jefferson County Schools donated 3D printers to the FASTENER Lab at Shepherd University to help produce protective face shields for health care workers. Several CTEs plan to increase production of masks and face shields in the coming days and weeks.
“The education community continues to step-up to the challenges of this unprecedented pandemic,” said West Virginia Superintendent of Schools W. Clayton Burch. “Not only are our teachers, instructors, administrators, service personnel and county staff working to ensure the educational and nutritional needs of our children are met, they are also giving their time to assisting the brave men and women fighting this disease on the frontline.”
CTE centers in more than 30 counties have also shown their support by donating large quantities of high-demand items to area hospitals and first responders, including critical items such as hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes, isolation gowns, eye protection equipment, plastic gloves and the much needed N95 masks that are in demand around the country.