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UCPS provides cloth face masks and 3D-printed protective gear to local healthcare professionals

In an effort to support healthcare professionals during the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic, Union County Public Schools (UCPS) will provide much-needed protective gear to local medical workers.

Starting this week, ten UCPS middle and high school teachers throughout the district will use their school’s 3D printers to produce ear guards and headbands for face masks and shields. With doctors, nurses and surgeons wearing protective face masks for hours at a time each day, the 3D-printed ear guards will provide much-needed relief that prevents face masks from painfully rubbing on their ears all day. 3D-printed headbands are equally as important, as they help provide an additional layer of protection between healthcare workers and patients while also helping to safely extend the life of protective equipment.

Additionally, several UCPS Apparel and Textile Production teachers have also committed to creating cloth face masks to accompany the 3D-printed ear guards and headbands.

The equipment that will be used to create the protective gear are typically used by students enrolled in Career Readiness drafting and apparel courses. However, in light of the current school closure, UCPS Director of Career Readiness Brian Davis said he recently reached out to state officials for approval to temporarily use the equipment to assist local healthcare professionals in the coming weeks.

All cloth masks, ear guards and headbands produced by UCPS will be donated directly to Atrium Health facilities in Union County.

“Once we received approval from the state level to do this, we’ve been working very hard to make this happen for our healthcare professionals,” Davis said. “I am also happy to say that everything we produce will stay right in our community.”

The headbands, ear guards and cloth masks are scheduled to be distributed to local healthcare professionals as early as next week.