INNOVATIVE school staff have stepped up to help provide frontline medics with vital kit. Nurses, doctors, NHS staff, GP surgery staff and carers are among the many key workers needing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). But as global demand is on the rise, some a struggling to get hold of masks, visors and other equipment such as disposable aprons and gloves.
Schools across the Uttoxeter area have stepped into the breach by donating items such as goggles and aprons used during practical lessons.
And at Denstone College, staff have taken the effort a step further by manufacturing plastic visors using laser cutters and other equipment in the school’s DT department. Staff have already made 50 visors and are set to make and donate even more.
Jackie Plewes, Head of Design & Technology and Senior Pastoral Lead at Denstone College said: “I initially saw on a teachers forum, a school in the south making visors and realised that we may be able to replicate the idea in our D&T department.
“With close family and friends in the care industry and seeing COVID-19 impacting a number of families within our school community, I was only too conscious of the acute risk that many NHS workers and carers are putting themselves under.
“I spent a couple of days after the school had finished modelling ideas and found that we had enough stock of material to get the idea up and running.
“By then, one of the suppliers, Kitronik, had published a working drawing of a visor specifically for laser cutters – this one works a treat, being adjustable, comfortable and having a hard-wearing, durable main frame.
“The whole D&T team were keen to be involved and 50 were initially produced.
“These were snapped up very quickly and since then I have been approached by five hospitals, a number of local GP surgeries, carers in the community, nursing homes and even a funeral directors. “In the current climate where it appears difficult to access official PPE, especially full face visors, there would appear to be a huge demand for them.
“We are currently out of stocks of polypropylene, but this should be coming in by mid-week, at which point we will have a team of helpers, wearing the appropriate PPE themselves and adopting social distancing rules, who will cut and assemble the new products. We will then hope to distribute as soon as possible.
“We will combine visor making with working on our remote teaching strategies with the new term getting ever closer. Staff have offered to pay for the materials. We are all in this together and we aim to continue to make these until our material stocks are exhausted or there is no longer demand. It is great to see DT teachers across the land contribute similarly.”
PPE at Thomas Alleynes High School, Uttoxeter, which is currently open only to children of key workers, was donated to frontline workers last week.
Headteacher Julie Rudge said: “Thanks to our science team, especially our technicians, who orchestrated the collation of all our PPE equipment which was passed over to frontline workers today. We hope it helps and thank you for all your work.”
NHS workers posted a thank you to the school on social media. Staff at Oldfields Middle School have also organised a series of donations to key workers in the Uttoxeter area.
Staff at the school informed parents of donations via Facebook. One post read: “Today we have been pleased to donate 50 pairs of goggles to the staff at Northgate Surgery in Uttoxeter. We hope that the doctors, nurses and other staff will find them useful as they care for the people of Uttoxeter at this difficult time.
While a previous post said: “Today, the staff and pupils of Oldfields have been pleased to donate 50 pairs of goggles to NHS frontline workers from Home Start. This re-ablement team receive referrals for patients over the age of 18 who are ready for discharge from hospital.
“The team consists of support workers, social care assessors, occupational therapists and co-ordinators. At present, the team have been working with little PPE so we’re very glad we can support them in this way.”
The school has also donated oximeters – fingertip devices used to measure oxygen levels in the blood – to Balance Street Health Centre.
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