Fontbonne Hall Academy, a local High School in Brooklyn, Makes Face Shields for Hospitals and Shares How They Are Managing the Pandemic
School Fab Lab sat down with Michal Ashkenazy, Science Chairperson at Fontbonne Hall Academy, a college preparatory school for young women in Brooklyn, New York to discuss some of the issues faced by teachers during this current pandemic. What were the hurdles they encountered and the solutions they implemented to address distance learning for their students? How having a School Fab Lab on campus allowed Fontbonne to pursue student projects that have helped their community during these challenging times. See how Fontbonne stepped up and used the Pandemic to not only provide students with new methods of learning, but got them involved in projects to build face shields for the healthcare community and improve on an ergonomic “no touch” tool to minimize germ exchange.
Distance Learning Tips from Fontbonne Hall Academy:
- Deployed Google Meet for teachers and students using Google Classroom with Chrome Book
- Oral assessments to ensure integrity
- Concept maps as a visual means to increase student understanding
- Project Based Learning (PBL) was found to be more engaging for the students
- Combine projects with community service
Thank you Fontbonne!
During these unprecedented times as the world tries to recover from the Pandemic, we are inspired by the innovation and creativity we are seeing every day. As School Fab Lab we have been working with Schools in New York bringing digital design and fabrication machines into lab settings. Going one step further we have provided curriculum, workshops and projects for teachers to integrate digital project-based learning into their classrooms. We want to share a very special story from one of our Schools and the Face Shield project they undertook to help their hospitals.
Fontbonne Hall Academy is using their School Fab Lab Full Spectrum Laser to make face shields for healthcare workers in their community. They have made over 1000 shields and donated them to 13 local hospitals. Michal Ashkenazy, Science Chairperson at Fontbonne says they average 100 shields per day.
Their biggest challenge was acquiring the raw materials. When they were unable to purchase the required plastic and elastic, they improvised with school supplies. Using report covers, sheet protectors and large rubber bands, they waited for feedback from the medical professionals. Their face shield design was approved and production began.
Sample Supplies used:
One of the tricks they learned through trial and error was that using Murphy Oil worked the best for cleaning the shields once they were removed from the laser cutter.
If you have access to a laser-cutter, making these face shields is very easy thanks to the Open Source files provided by NYU.
To make the shields they used open-source DXF (Drawing eXchange Format) files provided by New York University (NYU).
These files were made by an Auto CAD (Computer Assisted Drafting) software which is used to create 2D and 3D prototypes. Tania Rivera, Science Teacher at Fontbonne resized and adapted the files to best suit the types of materials being used, making it more effective in terms of the size of the plastic report covers and the size of the laser-cutter itself.
Feedback received from the hospitals found their shields to be more friendly on the face then the traditional rigid headbands and plastic shields.
Michal Ashkenazy also wanted to give a very special shout out to Tania Rivera who resized and adapted the open source files from NYU. Also she would like to thank two of Fontbonne’s alumni – Andrea Provvido and Priscilla Badalamenti – who volunteered daily with all facets of production, as well faculty members – Neli Brussi, Ralph Somma, June Detetsky, Effie Maldari and Gloria Musto and all those involved with this project. A special thanks to our Principal Mary Ann Spicijaric, without whom none of this would have been possible and most importantly a huge shoutout to our first responders who have been working so selflessly throughout this crisis. We appreciate and thank you all from the bottom of our hearts!
Legal disclaimer – Referenced face shields within this article are not FDA or NIOSH approved N95 replacement.
Please see updated FDA Guidance HERE.