You’re washing your hands, staying at home as much as you can and wearing a mask when you must go out. But you can still feel helpless, especially when a family member is on the front lines, caring for COVID-19 patients. Schmid College student Alexandros Drivas ‘21 and his younger brother, Matt, knew they had to do something to help after hearing stories from their mother, an emergency medicine physician assistant who works long hours at a hospital in Los Angeles County.

“Every day we hear about the battles she and her co-workers face, given COVID-19,” Drivas said. “We hear about the scarce levels of equipment her hospital and all other hospitals around the country [are facing].”

To protect their mother and other healthcare workers, the Drivas brothers started 3D printing face shields and distributing them to local Southern California hospitals. Their efforts are part of a larger mobilization by Chapman students and faculty.

Using Chapman 3D printers set up in their homes, students and professors are printing several hundred shields per week and have now donated more than 3,000 shields to hospitals in Southern California and around the country. The shields are produced following strict guidelines to ensure sterility – including minimal handling that is only done with gloves and face shields – and the models have been vetted by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Chapman is collaborating with Orange County-based MatterHackers – which builds and supplies 3D printing equipment – to coordinate distribution to local hospitals. The face shields are part of vital protection healthcare workers need to stay safe as they treat patients.