Ulster BOCES instructors from three programs are producing personal protection equipment, which is being donated to healthcare and essential workers on the front lines of the battle against COVID-19.
Ulster BOCES Robotics & Advanced Manufacturing and Pre-University/New Visions Advanced Robotics & Engineering teacher Salvatore Ligotino is leading the charge on manufacturing protective face shields. Ligotino, who is also an assistant professor in SUNY Ulster’s Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics Department, learned about a local retirement home asking for the college’s fashion department to make face masks. After researching open-source designs that use materials and supplies that are readily available, Ligotino designed his own specifications for face shields.
Using loaned machines, including a laser cutter from the Ulster BOCES state-of-the-art Robotics and Advanced Manufacturing Lab and a 3D printer from SUNY Ulster, Ligotino has turned his home into a face shield manufacturing plant. After laser cutting the plastic shields, headbands, and foam blocks that rest against the wearer’s forehead, he then uses the 3D printer to make fixtures that ensure the pieces are properly aligned when assembled. His goal is to produce 500 pieces of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE).
After the parts are manufactured in Ligotino’s Ellenville residence, they travel down the production line to Stone Ridge, where Ulster BOCES Automotive Technology teacher Jamie Lucks and Ulster BOCES teaching assistant Michelle Rosu are assembling and packaging them. During the weekend of April 10, the duo completed 50 face shields, which Lucks has delivered to a local nursing home.
“We all know people that are vulnerable to this disease. Both the elderly and the immunosuppressed are at a sizable disadvantage to this battle with COVID-19. If we can give the medical heroes on the front lines some kind of advantage, then that’s what we’ll do,” says Lucks.
Ulster BOCES Fashion Design & Merchandising teacher Nicole Foti and several of her students are also answering the call for PPE by volunteering with Circle Creative Collective, a charitable 501(C)(3) organization based in Kingston, to sew face masks. Between distance learning training, staying in contact with her students, and teaching online learning at home, Foti has made two dozen masks so far and says she will be making more soon.
Fashion Design & Merchandising student Mary Baker, a senior from the Kingston City School District, has already made a half dozen masks from her home, and plans to make more. Baker says Foti sent her a video on how to make masks. After applying her sewing knowledge, she figured it out. Baker donated her first batch to her employer who provides a curbside takeout food service. “I decided to make them because they were in need and I wanted to help out,” Baker explains.
- Career & Technical Education (CTE)