Youth across the Commonwealth are continuing the school year online.
Last week, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam directed schools to close for the remainder of the academic year.
Two Forest Park High School students are using this time to help protect medical personnel.
Thomas Byrne and Desmen Boykin are producing 3-D printed protective masks.
A prototype of the face shield. Photo courtesy of Desmen Boykin
A family connection sparked the idea.
“My sister is a surgical nurse at UVA hospital, and I’ve been concerned about her for the COVID-19,” Desmen, a 15-year-old freshman, explained.
Since they started working on the project last week, Byrne and Desmen have made about 40 polycarbonate masks in their homes.
The protective masks — which take between an hour and an hour and a half to make — have been sent to UVA and will also be used by staff at a few other hospitals. Requests have even come in from hospitals based out of New York.
A face shield that’s being produced. Photo courtesy of Thomas Byrne
If they receive approval, the students hope to produce masks — which take between an hour and an hour and a half to make — on the 3-D printers at Forest Park High School.
“We want to do our part to help the community and, really, start helping the hospitals, because there have been a number of nurses and doctors that have been contracting the Coronavirus themselves, and we really just want to put a stop to that and help anyway we can,” Byrne, a 16-year-old junior, said.
Those interested in supporting the project can order filament, Lexan Sheet on Amazon, or a Handheld Slot Punch on Uline and ship it to 4389 Ashgrove Drive, Montclair VA 22025.
Donations are also being accepted on the Face Shields Against COVID-19 gofundme page.