Volunteers sew masks at Sam Houston State University

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HUNTSVILLE, Tex. (KBTX) - Faculty, staff and alumni of the Sam Houston State University College of Health Sciences are helping out during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A group of volunteers used sewing labs in the Family and Consumer Sciences building to create about 100 cloth face shields.

Sewing stations were set up 10 feet apart with proper protective gear and each area was cleaned hourly.

"A few weeks ago, I lightheartedly spoke to the FACS Department Chair, Ron Reed, about using the sewing lab to make masks. This was before COVID-19 had reached pandemic state,” said Rosanne Keathley, assistant chair in the Department of Population Health.

“Then, last week, I asked Mr. Reed what he thought about this, and he was very supportive of the effort. I crafted an e-mail to Dean Runyan on Friday, and by the end of the day, he responded that he thought it was a great idea. The provost and the dean wanted to ensure that the production team maintained social distancing, proper sanitation, and general safety guidelines.”

The University says the cloth masks will be provided to students, faculty, staff, custodians and administration.

These types of masks are also now being recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention over surgical masks or N-95 respirators.

The CDC says those supplies should be reserved for medical staff working on the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis.

“​​​We all know by now that our new normal involves social distancing, good hygiene and self-quarantining. Earlier in the week when I heard about this project, I immediately thought yes, absolutely. Over these past weeks, I have encouraged my students to practice all of the CDC guidelines which our newest one is to wear masks when we are out in public,” said Susie Stone, Population Health faculty member.

“Throughout this pandemic experience we have not only been told the facts about this virus, we have been asked to demonstrate kindness and love. The goal of this project is to protect lives and to send the message of human kindness.”