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APSU leading statewide effort to produce protective face shields

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Posted at 8:29 PM, Apr 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-17 23:36:37-04

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Medical professionals across Tennessee working to stop the spread of COVID-19 have the personal protective equipment they need thanks to students at Austin Peay State University.

Last month, Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee asked colleges to help make personal protective equipment for health care workers across the state. Austin Peay junior graphic design student Michael Hunter responded by creating a protective face shield prototype.

"We got the request to start printing, and I had one out within three hours," said Hunter.

The face shields have three parts: a 3D-printed shield frame, an acetate face shield and an elastic band to hold it in place. Each one takes about two hours to create.

Hunter’s design was shared with universities and technical colleges across the state, and now those schools are also printing the frames and sending them to APSU. Students, volunteers and staff at the Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Center assemble the face shields and package them.

"There’s ten or 15 people working days and nights getting these [protective shields] prepped and ready to go," said Hunter.

Now 3,600 face shield frames, and 36,000 disposable face shields have been sent to the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency. TEMA then sent the supplies to health care workers across the state.

Even though in-person classes have been canceled at APSU due to COVID-19, students have still been working long hours to build, clean and package the equipment.

Hunter said it has been an honor to be a part of the project, and APSU will continue to do what it can to make sure health care workers stay safe.

"We are going to keep pumping them out until they say stop," said Hunter.