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Francis Parker science teacher starts effort to make face shields for hospitals

Posted at 11:38 PM, Apr 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-11 12:02:53-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - A teacher at Francis Parker school started an effort to make hundreds and hundreds of masks for healthcare workers.

Denver Guess is a science teacher and science department chair at Francis Parker School. He says it started when the mother of a former student approached him about donating some medical supplies to Scripps Health, where she worked. She initially asked for goggles, gloves, and hand sanitizer from the science department.

That conversation evolved into Guess working with the supply chain coordinator at Scripps Health. Realizing they needed face shields, Guess thought of the school lab's 3-D printers.

"So when the gears started rolling in my head that we have the capability to this, how could I not do that," Guess said.

Guess says it took several weeks printing various models and sending them to Scripps to find the most optimal design.

"It was really important to me that we did quite a bit of field testing that whatever I was producing, it wasn't trash and a waste of everyone's time," he said.

Eventually, they settled on the most effective model. The face shield comes in three parts. There is a plastic visor, where a clear plastic shield can attach, as well as an elastic band, to fasten around the head. The 3-D printers make the visor, the hospital has supplies of the elastic band and the clear plastic shield, to complete the assembly.

The San Diego Central Library and The Bishop's School then became involved. Both have 3-D printers as well and are now helping to make the face shields. Guess says he's also talked to Qualcomm to assist in the effort.

The 3-D printers at Francis Parker crank out 50 a day. The San Diego Central Library says they are also doing 50 a day and a total of 300 a week. The city's face shields go to Kaiser as well as Scripps.

Guess says it's a significant time commitment. He goes to the school three times a day to make the face shields while teaching classes from home.

"But then again, when I think of the doctors and nurses who are in the front line and what they're going through, again this is way easier," he said.

He says as long as the face masks are needed, he plans to keep making them.

"I'm actuality missing teaching my students face to face," he said. "So that faster we can get through this, the better."