Temple ramps up production of protective face shields

The task force will make at least 15,000 shields for hospital workers treating COVID-19 patients.

LEFT: Kyle Schwab, a graduate bioengineering student, works on the molds used to create protective face shields. | JACK OSWALD / COURTESY | RIGHT: A row of face shields created by a task force of Temple students, faculty and staff for healthcare workers. | TEMPLE ENGINEERING / COURTESY

A team of Temple University faculty, staff and students continue to produce hundreds of face shields each day for workers in Temple University Hospital amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

As of Monday, 2,000 shields had been delivered to TUH with hundreds more ready to be sent off, said Michael Kala’i, the senior director of technology and operations in the College of Engineering who leads the project.

Temple’s task force is averaging approximately 500 shields per day and expects to deliver 1,000 to TUH and another 500 to the Kornberg School of Dentistry this week, Kala’i said. It costs approximately $1.25 to manufacture each shield.

The team will make 15,000 shields in total before it reassesses whether more need to be produced, Kala’i added. Donating the shields to other area hospitals is an option if TUH says it has enough, he said.

The reusable shields, which were previously 3D printed but now are all assembled by hand, Kala’i said, act as personal protective equipment for TUH staff, a commodity which is in short supply around the country as COVID-19 patients continue to overwhelm hospitals, TIME reported.

“The work they are doing is critical in the effort to keep our employees and front line staff safe and protected,” said Abhinav Rastogi, the senior vice president of professional services at Temple University Hospital, in a statement. “Together we will continue to keep creating innovative solutions for our organization and others during this difficult time.”

The task force is comprised of faculty and students from bioengineering and mechanical engineering as well as faculty from the College of Science and Technology, the Tyler School of Art and Architecture, Temple Libraries, Student Health Services, the Office for the Vice President for Research, Information Technology Services and Campus Operations, The Temple News reported.

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