WVa middle school making masks for health care industry

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — A West Virginia middle school has joined the legion of homemakers, businesses and other places to produce masks for the health care industry.

Andrew Jackson Middle School in Cross Lanes said in a statement Wednesday that its staff used a 3D printer and a print file to produce its first KnightMasks this week in response to a request from the West Virginia National Guard for basic medical supplies.

The school’s staff conducted online research and did some trial-and-error before embarking on the task with plastic materials commonly used in 3D printing. The statement said the plastic can be cleaned with soap and water or other cleanser for multiple uses by medical professionals.

The KnightMasks are being donated to nurses in the intensive care unit at St. Mary’s Medical Center in Huntington, the statement said. The mask has two parts: a face shield and a filter holder that can contain a 2.5-inch square of medical-grade fabric. It allows for an N95 or surgical mask to be cut and made into six filters for the KnightMask.

The school said the masks are for medical personnel who may be running low on or don’t have access to personal protective equipment. The statement didn’t indicate how many masks were being produced.