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Phoenix students making face shields for Mayo Clinic medical workers

(Photo provided by Phoenix Christian Preparatory School)

PHOENIX — When a teacher at Phoenix Christian Preparatory School heard how disappointed his students were after learning they would have to miss major STEM competitions due to the coronavirus, he jumped into action.

“I thought why not have them actually do human need engineering from home and actually impact the situation that they’re facing,” said Kelby Milgrim, STEM director at the school.

Milgrim told students they could make face shields using repurposed materials for nurses and doctors at the Mayo Clinic to protect them from the coronavirus as their treating patients.

He said students loved the idea and “were ready to go at it.”

On Monday, about 70 students picked up materials at the school gym to start making the face shields.

“Our goal is to build 10,000 in two weeks,” Milgrim said.

Milgrim came up with the design for the face shields after speaking with a former student who’s a doctor at the Mayo Clinic. He said nurses and doctors will wear the face shields over personal protective equipment, such as N95 makes.

“So this is like a second layer of protection,” he said of the face shields.

Kedir Yassin, 18, is one of the students making the face shields.

“It’s actually very simple,” he said. “We use very common materials that you can find around the store or maybe even some of them at your house.”

Students use materials such as PBC plastic, pipe wrap insulation and rubber bands.

Yassin said it takes him only a few minutes to make one face shield and his goal is to make up to 300.

“It’s just great knowing that somebody is benefiting from what you’re doing and you’re helping out the community,” he said.

Milgrim said he thinks this is an experience students are never going to forget.

“This is a life-changing moment,” he said. “To be able to be a contributor to possibly actually protecting doctors and nurses is just really blowing them away that they can do something like that — even if they’re high school and middle school students.”

A GoFundMe account has been set up to accept donations to help cover the materials to make the face shields.

Milgrim said they eventually want to make up to 40,000 face shields, some of which will be distributed to other hospitals across the country.

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