ECU students and faculty donate, make protective equipment for local healthcare

Published: Apr. 3, 2020 at 6:28 PM CDT
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With classes on campus transitioned to online for the rest of the semester, East Central University in Ada is working to help out healthcare providers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Darcy Duncan, ECU School of Nursing director, said the school's nursing department gathered personal protective equipment they had and donated it to facilities in Ada, Madill and Shawnee.

"We reached out to our facilities that we work with and just tried to meet that need. We divided up what we could and got it to them," Duncan said.

The school donated more than 5,000 pairs of gloves, 400 masks, 350 gowns, 300 head covers and 300 pairs of foot covers.

Duncan said her students' hands-on learning at local hospitals was cut short due to the virus, but this gesture is still a way to teach a lesson of compassion and self-sacrifice.

"It was heartbreaking for them because they wanted to be there," Duncan said. "They wanted to help. Us being able to do this and for them to see that. We're willing to take what we have, whatever we have and put it out there for the rest of these people in our profession."

Meanwhile, a handful of students, like sophomore Lauren Mathis, are busy sewing face masks for local hospital workers.

"Sewing's just a really good pastime," Mathis said. "It's very calming and just enjoyable."

Mathis is in an apparel design class with a goal to make 400 masks, with each student making 50.

The class instructor, Jan Long, said the material for the masks was already on hand or donated. Long said she has a system of delivering the materials to the students and picking up the completed masks to be taken to hospitals.

"They are just getting started in learning how to sew," Long said. "This was a perfect project to really help them to understand, not only how to sew but looking at helping others. ‘How can we do community service, no matter what situation we’re in in life?'”

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