School pupils making protective equipment for frontline NHS staff
PUBLISHED: 11:01 07 April 2020 | UPDATED: 11:01 07 April 2020
Pupils and staff at a Norfolk school are using classroom skills to produce protective equipment including visors and boilable bags for NHS staff on the frontline of the coronavirus pandemic.
Teachers at Hethersett Academy are using the school’s 3D printers to create vital personal protective equipment (PPE) for hospital staff, community workers and volunteer services.
The school’s students are also creating boilable fabric bags for NHS staff at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.
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A shortage of protective equipment has left some NHS staff making improvised masks out of snorkels, buying kit from hardware stores and using school science goggles to protect themselves.
Kate Finlay, the school’s head of technology, said: “When we saw that NHS staff needed PPE, we knew that we could use our technology to help our nurses, doctors and key workers in the wider community. Schools across the country are trying to use their technology to help - and we’re proud to be a part of that.
“Our teachers and technicians have pulled together to help where we can – it’s the least we can do.”
Hethersett Academy’s design and technology teams are using the school’s 3D printers to create visors, which have clear plastic face shields.
The visors are 3D printed from PLA and polylactic acid, which can be sterilised. They are being sent to people tackling Covid-19 on the frontline.
Textiles students from years nine and 10 have also been making fabric bags for staff at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. The clothing and the bag itself can then be boiled, sterilised and reused.
Mrs Finlay said: “This is a small, but incredibly important product as nurses, carers and doctors will come to work in their clothes, get changed into scrubs at work, and then get changed before they leave.
“By having a fabric bag to put their scrubs in, they can leave their uniform in the bag and instantly boil or wash them when they get home.”
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The school, which is part of the Inspiration Trust, is one of a number of schools and colleges across the country to have answered a call to supply PPE to key workers.
Framlingham Earl High School and Wymondham College are also using techniques including 3D printing and laser cutting to provide equipment such as visors and goggles.