During this unprecedented time of a global pandemic, communities have rallied together to save lives and protect others and institutions for higher learning have played a pivotal role in research, education, and innovation. Missouri college responses to COVID-19 have been pivotal in increasing PPE supplies for healthcare workers. Colleges have played a key role in educating their local communities, providing resources, and donating supplies for those who need them most.
During the pandemic, healthcare systems are working around the clock caring for COVID-19 patients and trying to ensure their healthcare workers are safe. St. Louis Community College has stepped up to help ensure the safety of frontline responders by donating ventilators, masks, thermometers, and other PPE. They gathered and inventoried all their extra N95 masks, surgical masks, gloves, isolation gowns, and other items to help fight the novel coronavirus. They have also designated numerous parking lots around campus as free WiFi places where students and faculty can have access to the internet while they continue their education online.
While Missouri Valley College has students attending classes remotely online the nursing students are not able to participate in lab simulations and therefore are not using the PPE they have on hand at this time. They gathered all the PPE from the nursing department including gloves, gowns, masks, and hair and shoe covers to donate to Fitzgibbon Hospital.
Having enough PPE for healthcare workers has been one of the greatest challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic. The University of Missouri-Kansas City has stepped up to help alleviate this challenge by finding and gathering all the PPE on their campus to donate to local hospitals to use at this time. They have given tens of thousands of masks, thousands of gloves, and isolation gowns where it is needed most. They have also organized donation areas to collect and donate more PPE as individuals find and drop it off.
Students and faculty of Missouri S&T rallied to develop and make face shields to protect frontline responders at this time when there is a supply shortage while fighting COVID-19. The prototypes of face masks they developed were phenomenal and original. They have used 3D printers on campus to make the face shields that were later donated to hospitals should they need them.
Metropolitan Community College has a student emergency fund available for students that are experiencing financial hardship during the pandemic. Many students have lost jobs and have had to continue their education remotely, which requires personal computers and the internet, items that not every student has access to. The fund allows students to apply for up to $1,500 in grant money that they do not need to pay back.
The Missouri Community College recognizes that many students and faculty might not have access to internet or dependable WiFi during this time when their education has needed to be altered and delivered in an online format. To assist with this they have set up parking lots on campus that have free WiFi access that allows faculty and students to continue working and learning remotely.
As a beloved member of the community passed away in March, her family donated hundreds of bolts of fabric for the College of the Ozarks to use for masks to donate to first responders fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. The effort has been coined “Mynette’s Masks.” Students and faculty volunteers have cut and made mask kits for public community members to collect and help sews masks for the many healthcare workers and first responders to better protect them at this time.
Community Colleges have always played a key role in society as a place for education and training, now they have proven how critical they are in every aspect of a community. Most first responders and nurses start their training at a community college, they are now protecting and saving lives.
Community colleges have provided innovative methods for educating those in their communities when they need it most.
Know of any other incredible college responses to COVID-19? Let us know so we can recognize them!