SWOSU Faculty Building Face Shields for Western Oklahoma Facilities
Nursing homes, assisted living centers and other health-related facilities in western Oklahoma will soon receive face shields that were built by faculty in the Department of Engineering Technology at Southwestern Oklahoma State University in Weatherford.
Nathan Brooks, chair of the department, said the department wanted to do something to assist individuals on the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis.
“There have been more than 3,600 deaths across nursing homes and long-term care facilities in the United States the past two weeks that have linked to coronavirus,” Brooks said. “We wanted to do something for our facilities in this area of the state to help with their efforts.”
Brooks started the project by 3D printing a frame structure to hold the clear plastic piece of the face shield. He then used the printed prototype to make a pattern out of thin, clear plastic sheets. After making a working prototype, he collaborated with engineering technology faculty members Cindi Albrightson and Brett Chase to devise a plan to print more face shields.
In addition to their teaching schedules, the trio has volunteered to switch off days printing the face shields, cleaning up the prints, attaching rubber bands, and attaching the clear plastic sheets to the frames. They plan to have at least 50 ready for distribution by April 20.
Mark Parkinson, head of the largest United States nursing home association, said nursing homes are the “front line” in the battle against COVID-19 and desperately need more protective masks and testing. Experts say the numbers may continue climbing due to staffing shortages made worse by the crisis, a dearth of protective supplies and a continued lack of testing.