West Virginia schools and career technical centers are stepping up to fill the need for personal protective equipment for the state’s health care industry. From loaning out 3D printers to donating approximately 65,000 protective items, the COVID-19 pandemic has proven once again that West Virginians help West Virginians in time of need.

Schools donated boxes of unused personal protective equipment to the Cabell-Huntington Health Department in an effort to assist first responders and health care workers on the front lines of the pandemic.

In Kanawha County, staff at Andrew Jackson Middle School in Cross Lanes have been using 3D printers to create masks for nurses at St. Mary’s Medical Center in Huntington. And both Berkeley County Schools and Jefferson County Schools donated 3D printers to the FASTENeR Lab at Shepherd University that will help produce protective face shields for health care workers.

Career and technical education centers in more than 30 counties have also shown their support in a big way by donating large quantities of items to area hospitals and responders, including critical items such as hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes, isolation gowns, eye protection equipment, plastic gloves and the coveted N95 masks that are in demand around the country.

West Virginia Superintendent of Schools W. Clayton Burch said he is grateful for the work going on behind the scenes at schools and career and technical centers to aid West Virginia during the crisis.

“The education community has seen a need and stepped up to meet it, even though educators are facing challenges themselves. I am so proud of our teachers, instructors and personnel who continue to do amazing things for our state,” he said.