Face shields

Cuba Memorial Hospital staff are shown wearing face shields built by a Genesee Valley Central School STEAM instructor.

BELMONT — STEAM Learning at Genesee Valley Central School is a philosophy of education that fosters creativity, collaboration and cross-disciplinary connections with the goal of solving real-world problems.

When Chris Gyr, director of STEAM Learning at GVCS, heard about a need at Cuba Memorial Hospital for protective gear, he took action.

Gyr constructed six face shields based on a National Institute of Health-approved design and delivered them to hospital staff over the weekend.

“I mentioned to Chris that my wife works at Cuba Hospital and that they were completely out of face shields for the nurses,” Genesee Valley elementary principal Brian Edmister said. “Chris jumped on it immediately, researched what had to be done and started 3D-printing them almost right away.”

Gyr constructed the face shields using overhead transparency sheets, rubber bands ordered online and polylactic acid, a popular material used in 3D printing, along with a three-hole punch and an Ultimaker S5 3D printer. The frame for each face shield took 11 hours to print.

Gyr said he is grateful Dr. Brian Schmitt, the Genesee Valley superintendent, reached out to the technology faculty and encouraged them to use district resources to make the badlt needed equipment.

“I am also grateful to our district supply room overseers, Maureena Chamberlain and Amber Edmund, for not throwing out somewhat obsolete materials (such as overhead transparency sheets) that are an essential part of these face shields,” he said.

Ruth Ireland, Urgent Care Center manager at Cuba Memorial, expressed thanks to the GVCS staff for making the face shields, which will be used by nurses and physician assistants at Cuba Memorial.

“The design of the face shields facilitates ease of use and will provide necessary protection for the UCC staff by helping to mitigate the risk of exposure to the COVID-19 virus while they continue to provide care to patients every day,” she said.

Since printing the first batch of face shields, Gyr has refined his process to reduce the print time from 11 to three hours. Gyr is gearing up to produce more face shields for local healthcare agencies upon request. He can be contacted at cgyr@genvalley.org.