JMU industrial design class launches project to create hundreds of masks

The project, led by students and Phaup, will supply Sentara RMH and Rockingham County Fire and...
The project, led by students and Phaup, will supply Sentara RMH and Rockingham County Fire and Rescue with hundreds of masks.(WHSV)
Published: Apr. 7, 2020 at 2:28 PM EDT
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A sophomore industrial design class of 12 students started a project to create and distribute face masks to local health care workers and first responders. Now, over 100 students have helped with the project.

Kevin Phaup, a JMU Industrial Design assistant professor, said his students were designing soft goods this semester, but after the coronavirus outbreak began, they saw the need for PPE supplies in the community and have begun an effort to make hundreds of masks for Sentara RMH and Rockingham County Fire and Rescue.

Phaup said Sentara RMH provided supplies for them to make 700 masks, but they have more supply donations on the way. He said within a few days, they have already made their first donation of 250 masks to Sentara RMH.

Students in a variety of majors have helped with production, and all from their homes.

Phaup said because of the stay at home order, they have been distributing materials to people to make at home, and then later collecting the finished products.

He said they want to make sure community members on the front line have supplies to get them through the pandemic.

"When it hits, it'll hit fast and it'll deplete these supplies, so we're just trying to stay ahead of it," Phaup said.

Phaup said he hopes this project will continue to inspire students.

"I saw an opportunity to help out and be a good example for the students," Phaup said. "To show them it only takes one person to get the ball going."

Phaup said help from students has been amazing, but they are looking for more help from the community, as well. He said even someone with the most basic sewing skills can help make the masks.

If interested in helping with the effort, contact Kevin Phaup at