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BCS 3D Printers Serve Community
BCS 3D Printers Serve Community
Posted on 04/24/2020
BCS Digital Learning Facilitator Jennifer Hand examines a 3D printer.By Tim Reaves
BCS Communications Department

Teachers, staff, and even students have joined the nationwide effort to create critical medical supplies for the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic using 3D printers.

After delivering more than 250 face shields to the Buncombe County Emergency Operations Center and local medical facilities, BCS 3D-printed and delivered 250 ear savers and 100 door openers. The ear savers hold face masks at the back of the head to make them more comfortable, while the door openers allow medical staff to open doors and press keypads without contaminating their hands. More than 50 3D printers have been set up at Martin L. Nesbitt, Jr. Discovery Academy, turning the STEM high school into an emergency manufacturing facility. Students like Enka Intermediate fifth-grader Luke Boardman and school-based staff like Glen Arden Media Specialist Lee Ann Smith also joined the effort.

“When doctors and nurses use these products, they know that people in the community who they’ve never even met are supporting them,” Ms. Smith said. “They’re feeling the love. They know that we’ve got their backs.”

As the COVID-19 crisis deepened across America, citizens and organizations like BCS heard about medical supply shortages and rapidly starting designing solutions and sharing files with each other.

“This lets people take control of the situation and not feel helpless,” said BCS Digital Learning Facilitator Jennifer Hand. “And what’s really great from an educational perspective is that students get to see this technology being used in a purposeful way, and they can even participate in that purpose.”

“It’s been amazing, the way we’ve been working together across the nation to share design ideas and 3D printing files,” added BCS Career and Technical Education Director Taylor Baldwin, who oversaw the design process for BCS 3D printers. “People are creating things that doctors and nurses could’ve used all along. As they say, ‘necessity is the mother of invention.’”

All BCS elementary and intermediate schools have STEM Labs and Maker Spaces, where students learn to apply classroom lessons to real-world problems using the Engineering-Design Process (Ask, Imagine, Plan, Create, Improve).

“There’s a process of making a prototype, bringing it to the client, and having them say ‘you need to revise,’ and doing that again,” Ms. Hand said. “It’s important for students to see that it’s usually not perfect the first time. In the world, no matter what you’re doing, you need to be open to that, to be willing to be critiqued.”

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BCS is stepping up to support the community during these unprecedented times. As of April 24, 2020, Child Nutrition staff have served more than 518,000 meals since March 16, and the Family Resource Center continues to bring food and supplies to families with transportation burdens. Thanks to previous investments in the 1:1 Digital Initiative and Homework Hotspots, students have personal devices and access to the high-speed Internet they need for BCS Virtual Days online classes.

For more information about how Buncombe County Schools is responding to the COVID-19 crisis, including where to receive free meals, please visit response.buncombeschools.org.

    Buncombe County Schools is in the process of reviewing its website to ensure compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Buncombe County Schools does not discriminate on the basis of sex in its education programs or activities and is required by Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 and federal regulations to not discriminate in such a manner. This requirement extends to admission and employment. Inquiries about the application of Title IX and its implementing federal regulations may be referred to the Title IX Coordinator and/or the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights in the Office for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Education. The Title IX Coordinator's contact information is: Shanon Martin, shanon.martin@bcsemail.org, 828-255-5918, 175 Bingham Road, Asheville, NC 28806.

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