Randall Middle School teacher Jonathon Bock made 40 face shield masks.

The S.T.E.M. Club at Randall Middle School may be on hold while students and teachers follow quarantine guidelines, but one of the school’s teachers put some of the club’s equipment to good use from home last month.

Jonathon Bock, who runs the school’s 3D Printer Club, has made 40 face shields to donate to Brandon Regional Hospital and a local pediatric clinic with equipment used by students in the S.T.E.M. Club.

“I was reading stories on news websites and tech blogs about people making shields and masks because of shortages in hospitals and clinics,” said Bock, who also teaches exploring technology, exploring production technology, exploring aerospace technology and exploring power and energy. “I had the school’s 3D printer home from school along with filament, and we often talk at school about service-learning projects. This was a way to demonstrate to students how service-learning could look in light of emerging and developing technologies.”

Bock is able to create simple face shield masks designed to protect healthcare workers from bodily fluids, including saliva and mucus.

“They are designed so that the worker can also wear a face mask under it to help also mitigate the spread of pathogens,” he said.

He estimates the cost of each mask to be less than two dollars, but when PPE items are in short supply, protection is priceless for the front line workers.

It takes Bock 10 hours to produce two of the visors and he attaches an elastic band to each one that he prints.

“Originally I was going to print out student awards and the teacher gifts designed by students,” he explained. “I felt that this was a more pressing need for the community and asked the S.T.E.M. Board if they would be willing to put the machine to use in this capacity. They agreed enthusiastically.”

Bock feels fortunate that in these difficult times he has been able to do something to help.

“I’d like to thank the STEM Board and Mrs. Mawhinney for the opportunity to serve the community this way,” he said. “I’d like to thank the numerous people that brought this story to me on several occasions and encouraged me to pursue this.”

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Kate Quesada is the Multimedia Manager for the Osprey Observer Newspapers. She has been working for the paper in various positions since 2005 when she graduated with her Masters degree in mass communications. She lives in Valrico with her husband Mike and son Dylan.