KALAMAZOO, Mich. — Kalamazoo Valley Community College faculty members created a mask, similar to N95 masks, that protects medical professionals from COVID-19.
With the growing need of personal protective equipment for people in the medical field, college faculty members Dave Brock and Bill Kring said they teamed up with Engineering Design and Manufacturing Technology to invent the mask.
They said they could produce 160 masks each day and 350 shields a week, and said the mask's filter could be replaced and the shell could be sanitized for reuse.
“Bill and I started talking about this on the first day the college stopped holding in-person classes,” Brock said. “We thought we could do this — working together we could make it happen.”
College officials said Michael Collins, executive vice president for enrollment and campus operations, was working with the Kalamazoo College Health Department to distribute the masks and shields to local medical agencies and first responders.
Kring and Brock said they spent about 50 hours over a weekend to perfect the mask design, with the help from local businesses, the college administration and staff from multiple departments.
“This situation can be overwhelming and when you look at our community as a whole it starts to eat you up,” Kring said. “It helps when you know you can do a little bit to help. We’re doing this not for recognition, but because we want to make a difference.”
Kalamazoo Valley Community College switched to online, remote learning for the remainder of the winter semester through April 27. Its summer semester begins online starting Monday, May 11.