As health professionals serve on the frontlines of the COVID-19 crisis, Rye Country Day students and faculty are using the School's 3D printing technology to make and donate personal protective equipment. Six RCDS STEAM faculty members teamed up remotely to coordinate printing face shield rims that will then go to the Danbury Hackerspace, which is printing the shields, assembling the complete pieces of personal protective equipment (PPE), and delivering them to local hospitals. The effort is a collaboration of local educators, design freelancers, and hobby makers who are doing what they can to address the shortage of personal protective equipment.
The RCDS STEAM faculty, Don Fitz-Roy, Chris Kaye, Brandon Saltz, Gail Sestito, Nicole Zazzarino, and Cathie Bischoff, worked together to transport the School's 3D printers to their respective homes so they could print the rims while practicing social distancing. Ms. Bischoff, the Director of Rye Country Day's STEAM Initiative, shares, "It's really inspiring to see. Everyone and anyone can help. For us as STEAM educators, it has been especially meaningful for us to participate in this 3D printing project."
RCDS students and families have now joined in the effort, too. A donation-box has been placed on campus where families who have 3D printers at home can donate shield rims. For the foreseeable future, a member of the STEAM Team will come to campus to pick up the rims and deliver them through a coordinated multi-stop relay to the Danbury Hackerspace. "It's a pretty effective relay and drop-off system," says Ms. Bischoff. "It allows us to maintain a safe social distance. And, all the pieces are sanitized before drop-off."
This project is just one way Rye Country Day is putting its motto, Not for Self, but for Service, into action. A few weeks ago, Science Department Chair Charaun Wills and Headmaster Scott Nelson each searched the campus, collecting all of the nitrile gloves, goggles, masks, and other personal protective equipment they could find to donate to nearby medical facilities, including The Open Door Clinic in Port Chester.
The School is also working to pinpoint various ways that students, families, faculty, and staff can help the broader community during this outbreak, in addition to doing the paramount public service and civic duty of social distancing. Students across divisions have created thank you cards and posters for medical personnel, and Rye Country Day has been in close contact with its community partner organizations, from medical centers to food pantries, to marshall help and volunteerism where it can. Public Purpose Director Rebecca Drago is also partnering with RCDS Makerspace Director Gail Sestito to host synchronous workshops on Zoom for students, families, faculty, and staff who want to learn how to make cloth masks at home. "RCDS has a long history of doing public good, and our current situation is presenting a unique moment to respond in real-time to what the local members of our community need. I'm so proud of our students, families, faculty, and staff who have reached out with creative ideas and an enthusiastic desire to help," says Ms. Drago.
Commenting on the School's rim printing project, PPE donations, and community partnership efforts, Headmaster Scott Nelson says, "As a community, we extend our heartfelt thanks to the medical professionals whose tireless efforts and inspiring commitment on the front lines are protecting us all."