At a time of urgent need for equipment to protect health care workers and first responders from COVID-19, area schools and colleges are stepping up to offer their help.
Framingham State University donated more than $8,000 worth of medical gloves, masks, alcohol swabs, disinfectant wipes, hand sanitizer, isolation gowns, and other supplies to the MetroWest Medical Center.
Margaret Carroll, dean of the university’s College of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, led the effort to organize the supplies, which were gathered by faculty from university departments, as well as staff from its Athletics Department and its Health and Wellness Center.
“Once the college made the decision to move to remote learning, we knew we had a stock of supplies available to help with the shortages that hospitals are experiencing," Carroll said in an e-mail. “Our faculty and staff stepped up right away to gather everything we thought could be helpful. I think we all feel a sense of responsibility to do anything we can to help out during this crisis.”
Other educational institutions are doing their part.
Phillips Academy Andover recently donated 3,000 N95 respirator masks to Boston-area hospitals, and another 1,000 to Andover’s public safety departments. School officials said the schools had purchased the masks in the past to prepare for a potential pandemic.
“When we checked the supply, we saw that there were N95 masks, the ones in shortest supply currently for front-line health care workers and first responders,” Dr. Amy Patel, the school’s medical director, said in a statement. “I reached out to my network of Massachusetts physicians, and the need was huge. In an hour, there were 30 physicians requesting masks for their hospitals across Massachusetts.”
Greater Lawrence Technical High School, in Andover, donated 5,000 pairs of gloves, 100 protective suits, 400 isolation gowns, 15 boxes of sterile gloves, 100 face shields, 20 respirator masks, 100 N95 masks, and cases of medical cleaning wipes to Greater Lawrence Family Health Center, and cases of anti-bacterial wipes and safety goggles to Lawrence General Hospital.
Greater Lawrence Family Health Center also got some help from Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High School in Haverhill, which provided 1,300 masks, more than 200 isolation gowns, more than 1,000 sets of gloves, and approximately 100 safety glasses.
“In the midst of the challenges we are all facing with the COVID-19 crisis, we couldn’t be more grateful for the generous donations of personal protective equipment and medical supplies we received from Greater Lawrence Technical School and Whittier Technical School,” Richard Napolitano, the center’s senior vice president for external relations and chief marketing and development officer, said by e-mail.
Another school lending a hand was Greater Lowell Technical High School, in Tyngsborough, which donated 500 N95 and other surgical masks, 500 gowns, 500 booties, several thousand pairs of gloves, 500 surgical hair nets, 500 hospital bed coverings, more than 1,000 thermometer covers, and dozens of cases of disinfectant wipes to area health and long-term care facilities.
Endicott College in Beverly’s School of Nursing donated 50 boxes of gloves, 400 N95 masks, and about two dozen bottles of Purell to Beverly Hospital, while the college’s athletic department provided the hospital more than 50 boxes of protective gloves, sanitizing spray and wipes, disposable gowns, shoe covers, surgical caps, and 25 masks.
“These drastic times demand the response of colleagues and everyone in the community who can do their part to help,” Nancy Meedzan, dean of Endicott’s School of Nursing, said in a statement. “We’re glad we could help Beverly Hospital and wish we could help others. We’ll continue to do what we can for the community as we navigate this difficult period.”
Other schools that have donated supplies include Salem State University; Essex North Shore Agricultural and Technical School in Danvers; Assabet Valley Regional Technical High School in Marlborough; Blue Hills Regional Technical School in Canton; and Minuteman Regional Vocational Technical High School in Lexington.
“The vocational technical education community in every corner of the state has donated a multitude of [personal protective equipment] items," Kevin Farr, executive director of the Massachusetts Association of Vocational Administrators, said in an e-mail. "It’s not surprising to me that our schools, being an integral part of each of their communities, would rise up to support their communities.”
John Laidler can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.