The Dysart Unified School District asked schools to use their 3D printers to create surgical mask ear guards for healthcare workers this week.
The initial goal was to make 1,000 of them to donate to local medical workers that must wear masks in light of COVID-19. After seeing how well-received the idea was, the goal was doubled to over 2,000 in just a couple of days in order to better meet the community demand.
Inspired by Quinn Callander’s Boy Scout service project in Canada, there has been a recent push on social media for those with 3D printers to step up and help produce the Surgical Mask Ear Guards, and Dysart Superintendent Dr. Quinn Kellis did just that.
Dr. Kellis called on all 26 Dysart schools to put all available 3D printers to work to produce the ear guards. The Surgical Mask Ear Guards help alleviate the strain of ear straps while wearing face masks for hours on end, by separating the straps from the ears.
“If there is anything Dysart can do to further support our local community and first responders during this difficult time, we are more than happy to do so,” Supt. Kellis said.
“When we heard the call for help, we mobilized staff to get their school’s 3D printers going at full speed,” Dr. Kellis said. “With students engaged in remote learning, we had a lot of 3D printers sitting idle. Healthcare workers are on the front lines each day fighting this virus, and if creating these items helps ease even a small bit of the strain they are feeling, then it is worth the effort.”
Dysart nurses and health service assistants are working with local healthcare facilities to coordinate delivery of the donations for their staff and in some cases, immuno-compromised patients.
Organizations that have requested ear guards include local hospitals, a military base, senior living facilities, pediatric offices, urgent care and rehabilitation centers in the northwest valley.
Superintendent Kellis is challenging others with 3D printers to join Dysart in filling this unique need.
In March, Dysart’s Career and Technical Education department donated class medical supplies, including gloves, masks and wipes to the El Mirage and City of Surprise fire departments to help assist with the shortages of those items.
Additionally, Dysart is offering emergency daycare service for healthcare providers who are on call and need childcare. Priority enrollment is given to essential medical, public safety and military personnel, and health screenings for students and staff take place twice a day.