Many of the nursing professionals and first responders treating patients of COVID-19 received their initial training and education at a local community college. These institutions have been the backbone of higher learning in America for a very long time, but the importance of their contributions to society may have been overlooked until now. Illinois community college responses to COVID-19 have shown that the word “community” encompasses both education and service. These schools have provided affordable education and training, given back to their communities, and stepped up to serve during this time of crisis.
Oakton Community College has multiple 3D printers that they have put to use in developing and making face shields for frontline healthcare workers. They are also anticipating to make more to donate to assisted living centers and rehabilitation facilities. Faculty and students are grateful they have the opportunity to use their skills in a way that can help during this time.
Wanting to help healthcare workers and first responders stay safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, College of Lake County has had all their departments gather all of the personal protective equipment and medical supplies they have on campus to donate to those who need it most during this time.
The nursing, phlebotomy, nursing aid, and dental hygiene programs were able to gather thousands of items to donate. Those items included hundreds of N95 masks, gloves, surgical gowns, and more. The college is providing an ongoing donation site where people can place PPE items off for frontline workers.
Dominican University has closed its campus to in-person learning, but still wanted to help during the pandemic. They gathered personal protective equipment from their biology and chemistry departments to donate to local hospitals in need. They gathered goggles, gloves, isolation gowns, and masks to help alleviate the shortage that many hospitals are experiencing at this time. They were able to donate 50,000 gloves and 3,000 masks.
Triton College continues to be a resource to its community even with its doors closed to in-person learning. Triton gathered hundreds of items of PPE from its health science, engineering, chemistry, and biology programs. They were able to donate 9,000 gloves, 2,000 masks, 600 gowns, as well as hundreds of caps, shoe coverings, and biohazard bags. These donations went to first responders at fire departments, police departments, and medical centers.
Augustana College was among the many that gathered supplies from their nursing department to donate to local hospitals. They gathered and donated masks, isolation gowns, caps, shoe coverings, and more. In addition to donating PPE items, they have also helped in educating the community about COVID-19 and providing facts through news channels.
Since the nursing program at Black Hawk College had to move to an online delivery method the school chose to donate the PPE not being used in classes to UnityPoint Health System. Earlier this year Unity Point Health donated a lot of PPE to Black Hawk and they returned the favor during this time of great need.
Trinity College of Nursing and Health Sciences has stepped up to not only provide the community with excellent nursing staff at hospitals during this time but also in donating personal protective equipment from their programs. They have donated masks, isolation gowns, gloves, and more. Trinity has also donated a respirator for hospitals to treat COVID-19 patients. The college has also stepped up as a source of education for the community.
Western Illinois University has helped during the pandemic by hosting a successful blood drive on campus while using social distancing standards. They will continue to host other blood drives in the future as needed.
Joliet Junior College has joined other community colleges in donating the personal protective equipment they have on campus to healthcare systems that need it at this time. They also developed and printed 3D face shields to donate to local healthcare systems. Joliet faculty was also able to develop 3D printed masks that have an extended life as long as they are sanitized between uses.
Elgin Community College in Chicago gathered personal protective equipment from its campus to donate to Sherman Hospital. They gathered masks, isolation gowns, goggles, caps, shoe coverings, and more which filled several cars! ECC showed their dedication to service by donating absolutely every piece of PPE equipment they had on campus.
The School of Nursing at DePaul University has led out to gather much-needed supplies for frontline healthcare workers fighting COVID-19 as there looms a national shortage of these supplies. Faculty and staff gathered and packed up all the unused supplies used in the school of nursing’s simulation labs. They gathered gloves, surgical gloves, masks, face shields, isolation gowns, and more. They also gathered even more supplies from the university’s biology department.
While the pandemic continues around the globe, individuals, communities, and institutions are stepping up to serve and provide supplies when it is needed the most. Illinois community college responses to COVID-19 have created an example in serving local communities through education, donating supplies, organizing blood drives, and more.
Know of a great Illinois college response to COVID-19? Let us know! We love to recognize schools for their amazing efforts.