ANDOVER (CBS) – A team of Andover High school students, looking for a way to help health care workers, is making protective gear using 3D printers.

“I knew it was important, I have a brother working in one of the hospitals right now,” sophomore David Blanch told WBZ-TV.

Junior Pratheek Kuimanda said it was a video of a nurse crying about the need for protective equipment that inspired him.

The group, all part of the school’s science team, began making face shields and the effort has taken off. They each took a job, one making headbands, ear protectors, plastic sheets, the reinforcing piece.

“We went on line and did research to find the best kind of covering for people on the front lines,” said sophomore Steven Zhang.

The shields take hours and hours to make, all while the students manage their online school work.

They have delivered shields to Lawrence General Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital and are now working on filling an order for up to 300 shields for staff at Courtyard Nursing Care Center in Medford, which has had a tragic outbreak of coronavirus in recent weeks.

This type of personal protective equipment has been hard to come by in such numbers, according to Daphnee Alva, business manager for Tufts Health Plan who reached out to the students after learning about their project.

“It’s extremely difficult and it can take forever to get them delivered,” said Alva. “Connecting with these students has been really, really good. What they are doing is incredible.”

The students say the satisfaction of making the deliveries makes it all worth it.

“It feels good to help the community and help those in need,” said Blanch.

Sophomore Shashwat Ghevde said that using technology and medicine in a way to help people has been very rewarding. The sale of T-shirts is bringing in much needed fundraising and this inspiration to help is just the beginning. Kuimanda says they’ll continue making shields as long as necessary, and as long as they have the funds to do so.

If you’d like to help, visit their website ppehealthcare.weebly.com.

Beth Germano

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