By sharing resources and technology, Elmhurst College is joining in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic as it continues to disrupt nearly every corner of daily life.
The nursing, chemistry and biology departments, along with the facilities management office, have given Elmhurst Hospital more than 32,000 nitrile and vinyl gloves, as well as N95 respirators and other facial masks, plus 159 pairs of safety glasses and other protective gear.
Elmhurst College nursing students are answering the call to help, responding to requests by area hospitals for additional assistive personnel. Students working at Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago are even helping to triage COVID-19 patients, said Diane Salvador, executive director of the Department of Nursing and Health Sciences.
Dustan Creech, associate professor of art and chair of the art department, has been using 3D printers to create respirator masks and clear plastic face shields for health-care providers and first responders. Working alone in the new art makerspace in Old Main, Creech has been making the face coverings while simultaneously modifying the design files to produce the gear more quickly and efficiently.
He has produced more than 40 face shields so far, which he will donate to Elmhurst Hospital, and will keep making more as long as there is a need for them.
His wife, April Macatangay, an art teacher at Glenbard North High School, has been sewing fabric face masks. She has donated 20 masks to United Cerebral Palsy Seguin, a charitable agency serving people with disabilities, and also plans to keep making more.
“April and I are thankful to be healthy,” Creech said, “and we want to use our health and energy to help the many professionals caring for or working around those infected with COVID-19.”
Because the statewide stay-at-home order prohibits large in-person gatherings, Elmhurst College admission counselors have replaced traditional open houses and group tours with online formats to help prospective students find the right college or graduate program.
Counselors have significantly enhanced their digital engagement efforts by hosting virtual tours and Ask Me Anything sessions on Instagram, sharing videos, and inviting prospective students to join an interactive online open house or information session later this month. Faculty members and financial aid and student activities directors will be on hand virtually to share information and answer questions.
“It’s a challenging time for everyone, from health care providers on the front lines to high school and college students who are trying their best to keep preparing for their futures,” said President Troy D. VanAken. “I’m very proud of how our College community is jumping in to help.”