San Jacinto College joined in H-Force, a partnership to address personal protective equipment (PPE) shortages for the medical community. H-Force united members’ resources, technologies, and expertise to meet Houston’s growing needs.
William Buel, engineering design graphics instructor, led the College’s effort thanks to his manufacturing and production background.
Faculty and students powered on 3D printers in the South Campus’ new Engineering and Technology Center to manufacture about 1,500 face shield headbands for H-Force, local medical centers, and College employees.
Project teammates included full- and part-time faculty Dr. Christopher Wild, Jeff Robison, James Isaacks, Scott Vlasek, Clarissa Belbas, Sami Yu, and Bang Nguyen. Student assistants were Jose Amieva, Tanner Cates, Thomas Gullick, and Jack Yu.
“Everything we have been working on -- from initial product development to shipping the final pieces -- is allowing these students to see how their skills can be applied to any emergency situation that isn’t necessarily what they pictured as drafting/designing jobs,” Buel said.
Buel is thankful they had the opportunity to “step up when the need was greatest.”
“This project taught us all about giving more of ourselves to those we will never meet and saving more lives than we could ever imagine,” he said.
HCPH Testing Sites
Responding to increased COVID-19 cases, College campuses served as Harris County Public Health (HCPH) testing sites beginning in June.
Testing Sites at San Jac
“We consider ourselves stewards of our community, and hosting these sites showed our commitment to the overall betterment of our community,” Shah said.
“When large-scale testing was introduced in Harris County, HCPH asked us if we could help host a site,” Ali Shah, San Jacinto College emergency manager, said.
The Fixed site opened June 1 at Central Campus to College employees, students, and the public. It conducted 750 tests a day. In addition, North and South Campuses served as rotating mobile sites to ensure the entire College community had accessible testing options.
As COVID-19 cases increased, so did the need for medical supplies and PPE for medical first responders.
On March 28, San Jacinto College transferred a pallet of medical supplies to Harris County Public Health (HCPH). Coordinated by College and health science program administrators, the pallet included latex and nitrile gloves, surgical and N-95 masks, safety glasses, disposable wipes, gowns, hand sanitizer, and alcohol prep pads.
The College also lent three respirators from its respiratory care program to fill a shortage at Methodist Hospital Baytown.
“The opportunity to assist our health care partners is one small bright spot in an extremely difficult time,” said Dr. Rhonda Bell, Central Campus dean of health and natural sciences.
Employee PPE Kits
While helping the community, San Jacinto College also protected its own.
The Emergency Operations Center (EOC) created PPE starter kits for employees returning to on-site work.
These kits contained:
• Gel and alcohol disinfectants
• Microfiber cloth
• Face coverings
• Instruction card
Over two months, EOC and facilities employees assembled more than 2,500 PPE starter kits, which employees picked up as they returned in phases from remote work.
“Everyone involved did a very good job in very uncertain times -- whether finding and purchasing the materials, creating disinfectant labels, managing the many meetings, or guiding the entire process,” said Bryan Jones, associate vice chancellor of facilities services.