BUFFALO, N.Y. — Nichols School students are used to doing community service — some of them do 500 hours each year — but their philanthropic work is taking on a new look in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.
Even though students are out of school, they're still getting an important lesson in technology, creativity and community as they work together (from afar) and make dozens of plastic shields and hundreds of cloth masks for healthcare workers across Western New York.
Physics and engineering teacher Larry Hiller got permission to bring the school's 3-D printer home so students could still work on projects at their homes.
The students chose designs for plastic face shields, made some alterations, and Hiller has been printing 20 hours a day for the past two weeks.
Each shield takes about four hours to print.
Students assemble various pieces at their homes and leave them on the porch for Hiller to relay to other students. Hiller makes the final delivery to area doctors.
When 2 On Your Side's Heather Ly talked with Hiller, he had already done seven drop offs and more were planned.
"The first shield we actually finished, we gave to a doctor in Snyder. In return she gave us two sheets of medical grade fabric, so the kids have been sewing fabric masks too. We've done that trade a couple more times. They're making like 300 fabric masks now," said Hiller.
Two doctors offices reached out to say they're in need of equipment.
A local company saw what the students are doing and donated a huge sheet of material to make more shields.
The students want to start fundraising so they have money to buy more supplies because the need for this personal protective equipment isn't going away any time soon.