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Indiana’s CTE Programs Produce, Donate COVID-19 Supplies

By Justin Hicks, IPB News | Published on in Education, Health, Technology
A 3D printer at the Elkhart Area Career Center produces a plastic visor to be used for a medical face shield. (Justin Hicks / IPB News)
A 3D printer at the Elkhart Area Career Center produces a plastic visor to be used for a medical face shield. (Justin Hicks / IPB News)

Career and technical education teachers across the state are making and donating protective gear to organizations and hospitals fighting COVID-19, even as they find new ways to teach in lieu of hands-on learning.

The Indiana Office of CTE says numerous programs are donating personal protective equipment from medical classrooms to local hospitals. Some have even donated hospital beds to temporary sites meant to handle an overflow of COVID-19 patients.

Patrick Biggerstaff is the director of CTE at Area 31 Career Center in Indianapolis. His school already donated PPE to a local hospital, and teachers and alumni are still 3D printing face shields and sewing masks to help. He says making protective equipment is a win-win for local health care agencies and the students who can learn new skills in the production process.

“I think everybody is trying to help where they can,” he says. “If we can make that a part of the learning process by videotaping what we’re doing and talking about the local impact and then sharing that with students, that adds value as well.”

For classes that have in-person learning requirements that can’t be waived, the state is considering holding a summer bridge program at schools in July.