With schools being closed for the rest of the year, some students are taking that extra time to give back to the community. 4-H members throughout the state have taken this opportunity to help local hospitals by printing face shield and mask connectors.
In five different counties across Utah, youth are taking action against the coronavirus by 3D printing personal protective equipment, or PPE, for hospitals. Students that help with the project print these face shields and then either drop them at the University of Utah to be sanitized or directly to health offices.
Deborah Ivie oversees STEM education of youth throughout the state and spearheaded the 4-H 3D printing project.
“Now with other things opening up, there is a need for places like dentist's office and optometrists and, and even just like medical, regular doctor's offices, they need to have some protection to treat patients right now,” said Ivie.
The project was first started by the USU Assistive Technology Center and uses transparent sheets from overhead projectors to create this shield.
One of the youth in the project, Josh Van Wagoner, has been working on this project with his younger brother Kaleb.
Van Wagoner said, “they've asked everyone in Utah 4-H to try to help if they have the equipment and so we just take them up and they have like a Dropbox to put them in and then they use them however they need if they send them to other places or if they keep them there at that hospital."
This project has helped with 4-H’s agriscience program which acts as the intersection between STEM and agriculture.