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NEWS RELEASE: Bialik Uses 3D Printers to Help Make PPE for the Community

Bialik Hebrew Day School has answered Ontario’s call to create Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) using their state-of-the-art STEM Lab’s 3D printers. As part of the Community Shield initiative created by InkSmith in Kitchener, Ontario, the school has printed PLA components for over 100 face shields since they started production two weeks ago. They will continue to print these face shields until the need has been met.

When in-school learning ended on March 13 and transitioned to online classes, Bialik’s 3D printers were temporarily shut down. “We were keeping our eyes and ears open for opportunities to help, so when we read online about InkSmith’s project, we jumped at the chance to help out,” shared Bialik STEM Coordinator Marcus Dickler.

Bialik’s 3D printers are using templates for the headband and chin components of the shields. The components are being given to InkSmith so that they can be fitted with sheets of thin plastic to form protective shields. The shields work together with masks to help block exposure to coronavirus droplets by providing coverage from ear-to-ear and hairline to neck. The shields that Bialik is helping print are designated for community use and are being donated by InkSmith to organizations and essential services.

“Tzedakah” — or doing charitable acts — is key to Bialik’s mission, and doing our part to contribute to helping keep people safe in the  community sets a wonderful example to our students,” said Shoshana Taitz, Bialik’s Director of General Studies. “Problem-based learning and integrating technology is also at the forefront of our curriculum, so showing how our school is helping out to solve a real-world issue with the resources that we have is a great lesson.”

This project is just one aspect of Bialik’s dynamic response to the COVID-19 pandemic. When discussion about potential school closures began ramping up in March, the school’s administration started preparing for the possibility of distance learning, including providing training for their teachers and arranging the necessary infrastructure with their IT department. As soon as the decision to close Toronto’s Jewish day schools was made, Bialik was able to implement their Bialik Online Learning Program very quickly, to provide a full day of meaningful, engaging learning for all students from JK to Grade 8. 

The positive feedback and support from Bialik families and the community in rapidly pivoting to online learning has been truly heartwarming. “We have been so impressed with the resilience and flexibility of our staff and students in how they have adapted to, and embraced, Bialik Online. Students and staff have been bonding together through outstanding and engaging teaching and learning, meaningful assemblies, virtual dance parties, Shabbat sing-alongs and more, reinforcing our sense of community and caring for one another during what can be a very isolating time,” explained Taitz.