igus, a German manufacturer of high-tech, low-cost, and sustainably engineered plastics, has announced its plans to donate more than 220,000 face shields to schools in Rhode Island and Florida to help protect students and staff in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
igus’ North American headquarters are in Providence, R.I. Frank Blase, the Chief Executive Officer of igus, lives part-time in the Jacksonville area, and shields were distributed to students in St. Johns and Duval counties in Florida.
“As business leaders and parents, we are thrilled to be able to donate igus face shields in an effort to provide additional protection against the spread of COVID-19 for the upcoming school year,’’ said Rick Abbate, Vice President of igus North America.
Provides additional protections
The shield includes an injection-molded, one-size-fits-all, plastic strap that holds a replaceable sheet of plastic film that covers the face. The face shields, which are manufactured by igus in the company’s world headquarters located in Cologne, Germany, are not a substitute for a protective mask that covers the mouth. They must also be worn. The face shields, however, provide additional protection, especially for the eyes. The shields guard against the natural instinct for people to touch their faces and thus come into contact with the virus.
Face shields are also helpful in special needs situations. Face shields allow students with hearing loss to read lips. Shields can also play a role for students who require speech therapy and need to see how to form certain sounds. For some students on the autism spectrum who have trouble discerning social and emotional cues, being able to see the facial expression of their educators or therapists is critically important.
“We are living in unprecedented times and the upcoming school year is surrounded by much uncertainty regarding the safety of the children when they return to the classroom,’’ Abbate said. “It is our hope that these igus face shields will add greater protection for the students and provide more peace of mind for their parents as we all do our best to protect our families and colleagues against the increased spread of the coronavirus.”
igus donated 20,000 face shields to students and staff in the Providence school district. Several other schools in the region will also be receiving face masks. Providence Superintendent Harrison Peters said, “We are so grateful to our friends at igus for donating enough PPE to support all our school-based staff as well as many students with unique needs.”
The Duval County district in Florida includes 196 schools and has an enrollment of more than 130,000 students. It is the 6th largest district in the state and 20th largest district in the United States. The St. Johns County District has nearly 42,000 students.
“We are extremely grateful for this donation of face shields as we try to ensure we have a myriad of personal protective equipment available to students, administration, teachers, and support staff,” St. Johns County School District Superintendent Tim Forson said.
igus uses its innovative polymer materials to develop products that provide creative solutions with superior customer service. The company employs approximately 3,800 workers, including 380 in the United States. The company has locations in 35 countries and partners in another 80 countries, and tests between 1,500 and 2,500 products each year.