SECONDARY school Scoil Phobail Bhéara in Castletownbere has stepped up to help local frontline healthcare workers during the current Covid-19 pandemic by producing face shields in the school’s technology labs.
Noel O’Sullivan, who teaches technology and engineering, started making the face shields this week using a laser cutter. While the school has a 3D printer, these can be slow and Noel says in the time it takes to print one shield, he can make 20 using the laser technology.
He explained that he is using a plastic called polypropylene to make the shields. ‘Basically, it’s the same plastic that is used to make lunchboxes, so it’s entirely safe to use, and it’s very durable,’ he said.
Noel wanted to do something to help alleviate the difficulties healthcare workers were experiencing in obtaining personal protective equipment, and discussed with school principal Pauline Hurley how best the school could help.
‘The school has the technology and we had the supplies of the material needed to make the shields, so I started working on them this week,’ he added.
Noel is expecting a further delivery of materials in the coming days, which will enable him to make a further 150-200 shields, he also thanked BIM in Castletownbere for their assistance in providing materials.
Ms Hurley extended thanks to the family of the late Maurice Cronin whose fundraising for the school’s well-being programme allowed for the purchase of the materials.
Noel has already donated some of the shields to local paramedics in Castletownbere and plans to donate further supplies to St Joseph’s Community Hospital, the Castletownbere Day Care Centre, and nearby nursing homes.
In recent weeks, the school has also donated supplies of disposable gloves and sanitising fluid from their science laboratories to the local hospital in Castletownbere.