CTE Centers: Answering the Call for Care Amid COVID-19
Fred Rogers said, “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’” In this unprecedented time of crisis, many are rising to be helpers. All across the United States, healthcare workers are leaving their families and risking their lives to take care of all who are suffering with the coronavirus. Schools and career and technology centers are also coming together to donate much-needed resources and use their equipment to make face masks for those on the front line.
CTE teachers and students across the nation have always promoted community service as a part of their curriculum. They take great pride in using their technology, equipment and supplies to exhibit their skills. In late March, we reached out to centers in SREB’s Technology Centers That Work network to see how they were answering the call to help. These stories are from center leaders whose teachers sprang into action to support their communities’ medical professionals.
Donating their programs’ masks, gowns and gloves ─ and using their 3D printers to make N95 masks ─ for nurses, doctors and emergency responders.
Charles Kinsey, director of Poplar Bluff Technical Career
Center in Poplar Bluff, Missouri, said his Health
Occupations program has donated over 100 N95 masks, hundreds of
vinyl exam gloves and several boxes of exam gowns and isolation
gowns to area health care workers. Like many across the
U.S., the local hospital was running dangerously low on personal
protective equipment and was ecstatic to receive these items.
Christina Peterson, of
(Boards of Cooperative Educational Services) in Watertown, New
York, shared how students in her New Visions and Medical
Careers/Assisting programs are turning the health crisis into a
real-life project in which they are researching community
resources and needs and collaborating to ration and donate
medical supplies from their own and another teacher’s classroom
to those who desperately need personal protective equipment. In
the project, Some for All or All for Some: Rationing
Supplies in the Face of a Pandemic, students are
researching, interviewing and making tough decisions to make the
most of the equipment they have. Director of Career, Technical,
Adult & Continuing Education Tracy Gyoerkoe shared that
students are making shields with their 3D printer for health care
Lindsey Fraser, counselor at Kirksville High School and
Kirksville Area Technical Center in Kirksville,
Missouri, reports that their Project Lead The Way
engineering teacher and students are working with the local
hospital to help in the COVID-19 crisis.
This article describes how students are creating masks for
health care workers using their school’s 3-D printer.
Marla Berlin, of the CiTi BOCES in Mexico, New
York, shares that Nursing, Cosmetology and Auto Body
programs and the school nurse have donated all of their masks,
gowns and gloves to the county health department.
Denise Fernandez-Pallozzi, director of Career and Technical
Education for Questar III BOCES in Castleton, New
York, says they have collected all of the medical
supplies from two Certified Nurse Assistant programs — including
masks, gowns and gloves, in addition to another 450 boxes of
gloves from the district’s main warehouse distribution center —
to donate to medical personnel.
Jay A. DeTraglia, director of Hamilton-Fulton-Montgomery
BOCES Career & Technical Education in Johnstown, New
York, shares that Engineering Technology teacher Zac
Carrico had begun creating a prototype for a face shield to be
printed using 3-D technology.
Kevin Hutton, director of Massanutten Technical Center in
Harrisonburg, Virginia, reports that his center has
donated all of its masks and gloves to local health care
Martin Hanley, director of Pike-Lincoln Technical Center
in Eolia, Missouri, opened up the center’s Project Lead
The Way WiFi network to the community so people can access the
Internet from the center’s parking lot. Students are working on
getting masks and other items donated to their local medical
community and writing letters to cheer up quarantined nursing
home residents. Students are also setting up the school’s 3-D
printer to print face shield components.
Brett Keasler, principal and director of Cherokee County
Career and Technology Center in Centre, Alabama, notes
that Jessica Green, the center’s Health Science instructor,
donated all of the program’s medical supplies to their local
SREB’s Kathleen McNally is in constant touch with career and technical centers in West Virginia. She reports that the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine, the Greenbrier County Board of Education and the Greenbrier County Health Department are contributing to the 3-D printer production of N95 masks. The masks are being made with 3-D printing technology from Greenbrier East High School, Greenbrier West High School and Eastern Greenbrier Middle School. Masks will then be moved to the Clingman Center for Community Engagement in Lewisburg, where the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine Center for Rural and Community Health staff members will attach elastic and finish assembling the masks (see photos below).
Scott Griggs, assistant director at Central Vermont
Career Center in Barre, Vermont, is excited to share how
the center is meeting the challenge of helping health care
workers. The center’s Medical Professions and Emergency Medical
Services programs have provided protective face masks, glasses
and gowns to local emergency services departments. They have
also donated safety glasses and goggles from the center’s heavy
trades programs to EMS departments and a local home health
agency. The center’s Medical Professions instructor has conducted
health screenings for children and volunteers using
district-sponsored childcare for essential workers. Griggs
and director Penny Chamberlin are incredibly proud of how their
teachers and staff have quickly adapted to offering remote
continuous learning, which will be how all classes will be
delivered for the rest of the school year in Vermont.
Lee Green, director at Floyd D. Johnson Technology Center
in York, South Carolina, says the center is continuing
to provide meals for students during this troubling
time. Volunteers from all schools have come together to
prepare meals for all 5,500 students in York School District .
School buses then deliver these meals to students’ homes.
Many businesses, churches and civic organizations have donated
food, time and manpower to make this a true community effort.
James Couch, executive director of Anderson Institute of
Technology in Anderson, South Carolina, reports his
staff are involved in a community service project with AnMed
Hospital System. The school has donated 30 boxes of hospital
gowns, 10 boxes of gloves and six boxes of sterile pads to ease
the shortage of health care supplies and support the system’s
efforts to combat the coronavirus.
Jeremy Knox, of Troy Pike Center for Technology in Troy, Alabama, has asked to receive prototypes of masks and shields that he and others can use with their 3-D printers so they can contribute to the growing need for supplies.
We are pleased to say that this is not an exhaustive list. All over the country, career and technology centers are looking for ways to help and support each other and their communities. When you get scared, just as Mr. Rogers did, look for the helpers. You will find them in our career and technology centers.