Wiregrass Georgia Technical College makes protective shields

Updated: Jun. 11, 2020 at 10:01 AM EDT
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Joe Sumner, Wiregrass Tech Associate Vice President of Program Development, shows protective...
Joe Sumner, Wiregrass Tech Associate Vice President of Program Development, shows protective shields(WGTC)

VALDOSTA, Ga. (WALB) - As schools work to reopen during the pandemic, certain safety measures have to be taken into consideration.

In the beginning of June, Wiregrass Georgia Technical college did a soft reopening by appointment only.

Joe Sumner, Wiregrass Tech associate vice president of program development, said they still require social distancing and the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) but they wanted to do something extra to protect students and staff while still having close interaction.

“There’s some services that we provide to our students that are just more suited for face to face encounters as opposed to doing a virtual meeting,” Sumner said.

But when they went to purchase shield guards, they were back ordered because of the high demand.

So, they answered the problem by designing and making the protection themselves.

“This actually providing a perfect opportunity for for our instructors and even some of our students to to assist as needed. A real world relevant application of the technical skills that the students are learning,” he said.

Sumner actually talked to WALB through one of the shields to show what they look like.

He also talked about how this process taught the students about safety, transportation, engineering and manufacturing.

“Some of this is done with hand files on the stone, the same file has been used for 100 years, and some of this is done with state of the art, half a million dollar machines to get an aesthetic. So a great combination that really runs the range of everything from an entry level technical sale to a very high level automated manufacturing process,” Sumner said.

Sumner said they ran into a problem and the instructors and students were able to work together to find the solution.

The instructors plan to produce approximately 75 for individual Wiregrass team members for their offices, and approximately 20 larger models for various areas such as the welcome centers, the libraries, bookstores and admissions offices on all four campuses.

The college said they are willing to share the design plans with anyone who may be interested.

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