Julie Mundell, Michael Fanchette and Scott Wheeler are teachers at Colleton County High School’s Thunderbolt Career and Technology Center (TCTC). While COVID-19 brought new problems in how to continue student learning during the enforced isolation, it also brought some great ideas.
Mundell is in her third year as a Health Science 1, 2, 3 and clinical studies instructor at Thunderbolt.
Before she decided to teach, she was a registered nurse at TRMC of Orangeburg for 10 years.
Recently, Mundell and her colleagues received emails from the State Health Science Associate Angel Clark at the S.C. Department of Education regarding the number of supplies available in classrooms for possible donations to local healthcare agencies. “Being a health science teacher, we teach students the basics of healthcare in order to prepare them for healthcare jobs once they graduate. We often use gowns, gloves and masks to teach the students how to properly don and remove them. Once we got the email from our state associate saying we could donate what we had, we got busy,” said Mundell.
“I contacted the director of TCTC, William Hayden, and let him know how many supplies we had. He thought it was a good idea, and with school nurse Amy Delong’s assistance, I delivered the materials to the district office, and they took it from there.”
Mundell’s department donated 400 masks, multiple boxes of gloves, and personal protective gowns.
The supplies went to local law enforcement agencies, and they are now in the process of getting supplies together for Colleton’s local home health agency Amedysis, said Mundell.
“Amedysis Home Health Care actually reached out to me about getting some gowns and gloves together because they have staff going into patients’ homes, so I am currently working on that and will deliver the supplies to them,” said Mundell.
“My hope is that these donations will protect our healthcare workers and law enforcement officers from COVID-19, and to help stop the spread of the virus. Being an RN myself, I know what it is like to be on the frontlines, and I know they are going to need all the help that they can get. Healthcare workers should not have to work in these conditions without the proper personal protective equipment. They are the ones that are face-to-face with this virus, and they need the supplies the most. We are all in this pandemic together and need to help each other out,” said Mundell.
Scott Wheeler teaches engineering classes at Thunderbolt Career and technology center. His classes consist of introduction to engineering design, principles of engineering, digital electronics and aerospace engineering. In his 10th year teaching, Wheeler retired from the Navy as a nuclear operator.
Recently Wheeler received an email about the Medical University of South Carolina’s (MUSC) need for specialized masks to protect medical workers from COVID-19.
Wheeler was able to obtain the plans and put them to 3D printing.
“We have been 3D printing the parts for masks for MUSC and their hospital personnel. This process is a little slow, but we have improved on the time it takes to make the mask parts over the week,” said Wheeler.
“Our hope is to be able to get as many masks to MUSC as possible, along with the help of several other Lowcountry schools. We need to help our health care workers and protect them. We need the health care system to come up with a solution to the COVID-19 virus and they need to be protected to do that. If my colleague, Mike Fanchette, and I can help in any way to make their jobs easier and protect them while they try to solve this, then we are all in.
“This is a time when people that have experience to do things like this can step up and help. We are not health care workers, but we can help them with what we do,” said Wheeler.
Wheeler is happy to help out and he urges the community to help as well.
“If someone wants to donate a HEPA filter, latex gloves or model glue, we would certainly appreciate it, as all of those are used to put these masks together,” he said. Call Thunderbolt Career and Technology Center 843-782-4514.