ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. — The Rockwood School District, like every other district in the area, is sitting empty as schools went to online learning to reduce the spread of the coronavirus.
In the empty building in the Rockwood School District were 3D printers used as part of its STEM program. But while students and teachers are stuck at home, the district decided to put those printers to good use.
A few staff members in the district volunteered to take printers home and use them to create plastic visors that will attach to a plastic face shield to be used by healthcare professionals on the front lines in the fight against COVID-19.
"This project will have a tremendously positive impact on our communities, even beyond Rockwood School District," Superintendent Dr. Mark Miles said in a press release. "I look at this group of individuals and see a variety of educational heroes helping health care heroes."
The staff members load blueprints certified by the National Institutes of Health into the printers, and in about three hours, the project is done.
The district is working with Face Shield Initiative STL to put the face shields together. Face Shield Initiative STL wants to donate about 300 face shields per week.
And one of the staff members making those masks has a message for anyone with a 3D printer at home.
"If you're someone who wants to volunteer, you don't really have to do much more than fire up your printer and start printing," Rockwood Director of Technical Support Services Bob Deneau said. "Then you handle everything with care, bag it and label it according to how they want it done."
The school district isn't just making new equipment, they are also donating protective goggles.
The district donated hundreds of pairs of protective goggles to Barnes Jewish Hospital. Teachers said the donation will not deprive students of any gear they need because many of the facility are being renovated, and the new renovations mean they will get new gear.