Meet the teachers using their skills to help protect our NHS workers from coronavirus
Teachers at Dene Academy in Peterlee have been using their skills to make personal protective equipment (PPE) for frontline workers, which currently is in short supply.
Rochelle Charlton-Lainé, Natalie Coyne and Amelia Arrowsmith all work in the school’s design technology department, and have been using the equipment and spare materials there to make face shields to protect NHS staff and other key workers.
The face shields have been delivered to hospitals including Sunderland Royal, South Tyneside and North Tyneside, as well as to Sunderland and Ryhope community nurses.
So far they have made 310 face shields in a mini-factory they set up in the school while it is closed. But they aren’t finished yet.
Such is the quality of the work they have produced, there is a big demand for more and other volunteers have helped - always working within the Government’s coronavirus guidelines.
Rochelle said: “It took us a while to make them. We set up a social-distanced production line and made them with polypropylene. We can’t have too many in the area, so four is a good number.
“We cut up all the art folders of our old students, so we’re recycling too. We laser cut them, then assembled and packaged them.
“We didn’t know if the hospitals would accept them, but they’re something rather than nothing. We’re going to make as many as we can.
“Amelia’s mam works at North Tyneside Hospital. My mother-in-law is in South Tyneside Hospital and my cousin is a community nurse in Sunderland and Seaham.
“They handed them out to nurses as otherwise they’d have nothing.
“My landlady is a nurse in a GP’s office and she took some too. People have gone wild for them.
“Some have also gone to prison officers and food delivery workers. They might be delivering to elderly people and could be asymptomatic and not know they’ve got it.
“So it protects them and the elderly people they’re delivering to.”
The three teachers are part of a nationwide Facebook group, the Design and Technology Teachers Forum, which is on a drive to make PPE during the Covid-19 crisis.
The shields are reusable, and the hospitals are sanitising them after each use.