COLUMBIA — There are very few classrooms in South Carolina public schools like Nicolas Jones’ at the Richland Two Institute of Innovation.
Filled with 3D printers and meant as a place for aspiring engineers and computer designers to hone their skills, the high-tech space has become a mini assembly line for pandemic-related equipment, churning out face shields, mask supports and special cameras for teachers to assist with virtual learning.
“That’s been our main goal lately, kind of innovating around the pandemic with the curriculum and students in general,” Jones said. “We’ve been working on numerous projects and trying to meet need where we see it.”
Over the past months, Jones and his students have processed more than 150 face shields and cameras, and several hundred plastic adjusters for masks. In addition to being distributed across Richland Two schools, some of the materials have found their way to nurses and other front-line personnel.
Among the mask recipients were Jones’ wife, who teaches at a nearby Montessori school where classes have not stopped, and the sister of a student, who is a nurse at Prisma Health.
“In the beginning when it all kind of went crazy, I was creating those visors and sending them to my sisters and seeing if her friends needed any,” said Thimas Temple, a senior at Spring Valley High School whose sister is the Prisma nurse.