Answering the Call for PPE

Northwest State Community College faculty are universally busy, having deftly made adjustments to course delivery to continue providing the best-possible education for students in the new remote-learning environment. Some faculty in the STEM and Industrial Technologies Division have also answered the call to serve the community in another critical way. Governor DeWine, Lt. Governor Husted and Dr. Amy Acton recently advised Ohioans of the oncoming shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) for healthcare workers and first responders in the face of COVID-19. In particular, items such as masks, goggles, gloves, gowns and face shields were noted.

During a recent faculty conference through Ohio TechNet, NSCC faculty members Dave Mohring and Colin Doolittle began exchanging design concepts for face shields using 3D printing technology. Because the Archbold campus is closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they had to take turns starting a print batch, then clearing the beds to begin a new batch.

Doolittle noted the STEM team was contacted by a representative at the Bryan Hospital (CHWC). “(The individual) inquired whether or not we had the ability to make face shields. I had read about similar projects online, did some quick research and we began working on it,” Doolitle said.

“I brought Dave into the loop and we sat down in the CAD lab, six feet apart, and developed a design that would fit our current machine capabilities. We are currently producing the shield head bracket on the printers and will be completing full masks, once materials come in (sometime this week). Dave and I rotate our time in the lab, to minimize exposure to each other. We have a unique opportunity to give back to the community during this difficult time. It gives us a great sense of pride to give back to our community. Our medical professionals are on the front lines of this fight, and it is an honor to help them anyway we can,” Doolittle said.

NSCC President Dr. Michael Thomson added, “NSCC’s mission is to strengthen communities. In these unique times, we are blessed with faculty and staff using their innovation and ingenuity to serve Northwest Ohio in ways that our community needs right now. Whether it’s serving learners remotely, creating needed PPE or being an overflow medical unit, NSCC remains committed to doing our part.” 

A March 26, 2020, release from the governor’s office noted that taking care of a COVID-19 patient in intensive care for a 24-hour shift requires:

  • 36 pairs of gloves
  • 14 gowns
  • 3 pairs of goggles
  • 13 N-95 face masks

A call to action was sent for residents and businesses, and many including NSCC have generously taken action. In-depth data on the new dashboard can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov.