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This Bay Ridge School is Producing Personal Protective Equipment to Donate to Healthcare Workers

This Bay Ridge School is Producing Personal Protective Equipment to Donate to Healthcare Workers

Fontbonne Hall Academy's team put their heads together to quickly produce personal protective equipment to donate to NYC healthcare workers.


Michal Ashkenazy, the science department chair at Fontbonne Hall Academy, an all-girls high school in Bay Ridge, knew she wanted to help create and donate personal protective equipment for health care workers after seeing how great the need for coronavirus PPE is in hospitals throughout New York City. With the help of colleagues, the school produced 120 face masks in 2 days to donate to healthcare workers throughout NYC. At a time like this, proper PPE in healthcare is more important than ever and Ashkenazy wanted to do whatever she could to produce the best homemade face masks they could.    

Ashkenazy contacted Fontbonne’s principal, Mary Ann Spicijaric, to devise a plan to use the school’s resources to make face masks and face shields using the school’s FabLab 3-D printers. While the printer would be able to make the masks, it could only utilize certain materials—materials that were difficult to obtain at the time. So the Fontbonne team decided to devise their own face shields from plastic binding covers and large rubber bands from the school’s main office.

The team began face shield production April 6, but quickly had to think of an alternate production method when Fontbonne’s laser-cutting machinery singed the thin plastic sheets and covered them with a brown film, rendering the shields unusable. Ultimately, the team, which included Fontbonne science teachers Tania Rivera and Adam Williams, set up a successful PPE production line while maintaining social distancing and were able to churn out 120 face masks in two days to donate to health care workers who need them. The team is waiting for a delivery of more materials to continue production of PPE to donate.



“We are feeling extremely grateful for this opportunity to be able to help our first responders as they battle against the virus. As scientists, we can all appreciate how very important it is to have proper PPE during a time of crisis,” said Ashkenazy. “This is just our small way of being able to express our appreciation, respect, and admiration for all of the first responders who are working tirelessly to save lives.”

Keep up with coronavirus developments in the New York metro area as they occur, and head to Fontbonne’s website to learn more about the values and mission that drove the team to produce their own personal protective equipment.

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Jacqueline Neber

Author: Jacqueline Neber is a social journalism MA candidate at the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY. When she’s not reporting, you can find her petting someone else’s dog. See More

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