Decreasing the spread of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, has been a top priority around the world in recent months. Elkie Burnside, Ph.D., associate professor of English and director of the Master of the Arts in Professional Communication Program at the University of Findlay, has been doing her part to keep our community healthy by making masks for those in need.
Burnside created her first mask for one of her graduate students who was not being provided personal protective equipment (PPE) at work. Already having the material, along with a little extra time and the amazing resources provided by the internet, the project quickly escalated as she began reaching out to family, friends, and the local community to see who else was in need. Burnside’s intent with this project: doing what a community does in a time of crisis. “This is what we should be doing,” she said. “If I can do it and help out, why wouldn’t I?”
Through some Google research, Burnside found the information she needed to begin the fabrication process including templates, written instructions, and how-to videos. She took the process a step further by basing the design of the masks on the specific needs of the receiving parties with medical and Fu styles. Both mask styles come complete with double layered, washable materials which makes them perfect for reuse.
When asked if she was working on this project by herself, Burnside responded by saying, “I’m making them by myself, but I’m not the only one doing it.” People are coming together across neighborhoods, communities, cities, and states to achieve one common goal: stop the spread of COVID-19 by keeping people healthy. For Burnside specifically, masks are going to whoever she can find that need them and have even been sent to friends and family in Ohio, Maryland, Texas, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and more. She even sent 50 masks to those continuing to care for animals at the University farms.
With the primary goal of keeping people healthy, Burnside explained that, “even if you’re not at risk, you could put others at risk by being a carrier and A-symptomatic.” As a community, it is our job to put the needs and health of others above yourself. Her message to UF, and the community as a whole, is, “continue to support one another; reach out and be a community even though we are apart.”
For more information on these masks, or how UF is helping the community, please contact Natasha Lancaster at firstname.lastname@example.org.