April 8, 2020–8:18 a.m.
ROME CITY SCHOOLS
In an amazing collaboration of technology and leadership, the champions at Elm Street Elementary have taken a brilliant step forward in the fight against COVID-19. Elm Street has now become a manufacturing facility for medical face shields.
The conversation started when Holly Amerman, CTAE Director (Career, Technical and Agricultural Education), tagged Laura Walley, Principal at Elm Street, in a post about using 3-D printers to produce the much-needed face shields that have been in short supply. Elm Street has a number of printers that the students use to manufacture an amazing number of products. Ms. Amerman knew of their manufacturing capabilities and thought it was something that the school could get involved with.
Melanie Arrington, Media Specialist and STEM coordinator for Elm Street took a look at the open-source file and said it was definitely possible. The school carries two different types of 3-D printers. The Mod-T is too small to manufacture the shields, but their four MarkerBot printers had large enough build plates to complete the task.
Once they knew all the tools were there, Lou Byars, School Superintendent, made sure the school had all the supplies they needed to begin printing. “Mr. Byars connected us with our friends at Floyd Medical Center and made them aware of the project. We looked at this as a great opportunity to give back to them since they do so much for our school system,” said Walley.
With their plan in place, Mrs. Arrington brought two of the printers home, Brant Amerman, Assistant Principal at Elm Street, brought one home and Mrs. Walley brought home the other one. It takes about three hours to print one shield and with a total of four printers working simultaneously, they have the capability to print up to 30 face shields each day.
Along with the ability to produce face shields, they have also been able to utilize the smaller 3-D printers to produce mask extenders. There can be some discomfort for certain people who have to wear a face mask for long periods of time. These extenders allow the face masks to be adjustable and accommodate every user.
This is another great example of not only our school system but our community coming together to selflessly help one another. This crisis has put so many healthcare workers on the front line and they need the proper protection to safely and effectively do their job. It makes us proud to see our school leaders working together to be part of the solution.