As the supply shortage for personal protective equipment has ensued as hospitals around the globe are fighting the COVID 19 pandemic both the University of Maine System and the Community College of Maine System stand ready to donate and help as the need arises. Where most of Maine’s nursing professionals and first responders received their education and training at one of the local community colleges they stand ready to give back to their communities and protect their alumni. Colleges’ responses to COVID 19 in Maine have been essential to protecting frontline healthcare workers and their local communities.
As COVID 19 spread across the globe and to Maine, Eastern Maine Community College chose to act quickly and gather and donate what personal protective equipment they had on hand on their campus. They gathered 150 isolation gowns and 150 masks that they donated to first responders at the Bangor Fire Department. Wanting to keep first responders safe and healthy as they treat patients of COVID 19, this donation was greatly appreciated.
Kennebec Valley Community College has gathered and donated take-out food containers. These have been in great need of local food banks.
These have been used to help provide food to residents in need while keeping the food in clean new containers.
A professor at Southern Maine Community College has stepped up to serve the community by creating an educational youtube video that teaches how to use a 3-D printer to create parts for ventilators. These particular parts that are manufactured on 3-D printers make it possible for two patients to be hooked up to one ventilator while receiving the same level of respiratory therapy from a single ventilator.
As Bowdoin Community College moved to online learning they found that they had thousands of pieces of PPE that would no longer be used in labs across campus. They chose to gather and donate these items so they would be of use and a great help during this time of crisis as the world fights COVID 19 and is experiencing a looming supply shortage. They donated 40,000 gloves, boxes of cotton swabs, splash shields, N95 masks, safety glasses, and shoe covers. Bowdoin also gathered cases of toilet paper from around campus to donate to MidWest Hunger Prevention Program and the Tedford Shelter.
Members of the Information Technology Service Department at Central Maine Community College have designed respiratory masks to be manufactured by 3-D printers. They have utilized the 3-D printers on campus to manufacture these masks to donate to frontline healthcare workers as well as some select faculty on campus. Central Maine Community College has also designated a parking lot to be a virtual computer lab where students can have access to laptops and reliable high-speed WiFi so they can complete their courses while their education has transitioned to an online delivery method.
Through efforts of professors at the University of Maine, thousands of items of PPE have been gathered and collected from the universities that are part of the University System of Maine. The University of Southern Maine has donated hundreds of N95 masks among 5,500 items of personal protective equipment. All the PPE that has been gathered was donated to MEMA to distribute to frontline responders.
As the core to many communities working-class and healthcare systems, Colleges are rising above and beyond in reaching out to their students and providing the community with services on the frontlines during the pandemic of COVID 19. The Colleges’ responses to COVID 19 in Maine have offered uplifting and positive movements during this unprecedented time in history.
Do you know of any other amazing college responses to COVID-19? Let us know so we can recognize them and add them to our list!