NEW BRITAIN – With the next academic year less than three months away, the Consolidated School District of New Britain and United Way are partnering to create 10,000 face shields to meet safety needs in the fall.
“This would be a phenomenal opportunity to give teachers, paraeducators, staff and students the personal protection equipment that they need,” said Paula Gilberto, United Way’s president and CEO. “We are not just here to make sure that students have good academic, social and emotional wellbeing, but to provide a safe environment for everyone at school.”
In its second collaboration with the school district, OKAY Industries have provided the specs for the face shields and have ordered the materials for the products. The New Britain-based company previously worked with the school district to create 22,000 face shields for frontline workers. The product will be a plastic shield with foam that goes across the forehead with a band across the back.
New Britain High School will once again open its doors to allow the face shield assembly line to commence starting Friday, June 26 through Thursday, July 2. There will be two shifts each day, from 8 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and from noon to 3 p.m.
“This is a way to keep the community and our volunteers engaged while still practicing social distancing,” said Phil Blonski, United Way’s senior community engagement manager. “It’s a great opportunity to get out of the house while making a huge impact at the school district. We’ve had some strong feedback from many people who think this is a great idea and we encourage volunteers to bring their family members to join in if it’s safe for everyone.”
By spring-boarding from the district’s previous experience, Sondra Sanford, a partnership coordinator with the district, said to be able to have a partnership with United Way to ensure students and staff are safe upon reopening is a great feeling.
“Organizing this round has been a lot easier and everyone is excited to have personal protection equipment provided for our internal community,” she said. “We’re getting ahead of the game to prepare for when schools reopen. This also takes off the stress and concern as we prepare to educate our youth.”
Gilberto said they have a commitment to all children to succeed academically and she commends the district for thinking ahead.
“I was thrilled to partner on such a great project that would not only have great community engagement, but to connect people in meaningful ways to provide a service,” she said.
Organizers urge those interested to volunteer for the face shields assembly.