Colleges across Tennessee band together to make face shields for healthcare community battling supply shortages


TCAT Elizabethton IT associate Tyler Hankes working a 3-D printer. Photo courtesy of TCAT Elizabethton

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WJHL) — Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology at Elizabethton, Jackson, Morristown, Murfreesboro, and Shelbyville along with Jackson State and Pellissippi State community colleges manufactured 858 headbands Saturday that will be used for plastic face shields.

The colleges are using 3-D printers, which were supplied by other campuses along with further materials and supplies for the ongoing effort.

This team project announced by Gov. Bill Lee Monday afternoon is part of the governor’s attempt to discover innovative ways to assist Tennessee’s healthcare community and its facilities during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.

SEE ALSO: Hospitals fear any surge of virus cases, supply shortages

The first batch of face shields will be delivered to the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency Wednesday, according to the press release.

The headbands are being sent to Austin Peay State University, which the Tennessee Higher Education Commission says originated the prototype and where the headbands will be attached to transparent plastic face shields. 

The technological and community colleges participating in these efforts are governed by the Tennessee Board of Regents, and TBR Chancellor Flora Tydings said the college system is proud to partake in this attempt to protect those working the front-lines in the medical community.

When Governor Lee and THEC Executive Director Mike Krause asked us to join this important work last week, our colleges — all of whom were busy preparing for the shift to online education — stepped up, expanded their focus, and jumped into action to help. Many nurses, doctors, and other health professionals are alumni of our colleges, and we’re delighted to help protect them and their colleagues who are doing so much to protect us all. It all goes to show the strength of our team, and when we need to, we can be an army assisting in our state’s overall effort in fighting coronavirus and COVID-19.

Dr. Flora Tydings
Tennessee Board of Regents Chancellor

THEC says other participating institutions include East Tennessee State University, Tennessee Technological University, the University of Memphis, and the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

More are expected to join the collaborative effort.

For more coverage on the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, click here.

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