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TSU on the frontline in COVID-19 prevention with production of protective masks for healthcare professionals and hand sanitizer


– Tennessee State University is helping in
the global fight against the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). The University is
stepping to the forefront and using its educational platform to make protective
face gear for doctors, nurses and other medical personnel.

Headband designed by TSU 3D printing machines. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations).

TSU is also sharing information on how
families can make their own hand sanitizer while producing the germ fighting
solution for campus police and Nashville’s most vulnerable population, senior

The Tennessee Higher Education Commission has asked TSU to use its 3D printing machines to help design a portion of the mask, which has three components: plastic shield, headband and elastic band. The College of Engineering is leading the campus effort to produce the protective gear, which also includes the College of Agriculture and Library Services.

“We are currently fabricating several of the headbands to donate to THEC,” says Dr. S. Keith Hargrove, dean of Engineering. “We have faculty, staff and students involved in making this product from four different sites at TSU. We hope to collectively support the state’s effort to mitigate and limit the spread of COVID-19.”

The masks will be used to protect Tennessee medical professionals, like nurses and doctors, who are on the front lines caring for individuals with the virus. In Italy, the country with the second highest number of COVID-19 cases, more than 20 doctors have reportedly died and thousands of other health workers have been infected since the outbreak.

TSU grad students Oluwatosin Fagbuyi (left) and Rotimi Joaquim discuss printing technology with WPLN reporter. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

Oluwatosin Fagbuyi is one of the graduate students helping to make the headbands using the 3D technology. He says he could not pass up the chance “to help save lives.”

“It’s nice
to feel like I can help,” says Fagbuyi, who is majoring in mechanical and
manufacturing engineering. “It’s an opportunity I couldn’t turn down.”  

In addition to helping with the mask, the College of Agriculture is also making hand sanitizer and sharing instructions on how individuals can make their own. The college is producing the alcohol-based solution to make available for campus police and residents at Schrader Acres assisted living facility neat TSU.

“There is such a shortage because of the virus,” said Dr. Chandra Reddy, dean of the College of Agriculture. “The idea is to help people make their own sanitizer in case they can’t get it commercially. The elderly are among the high-risk groups and we want to do our part to help our neighbors, our community.”   

The process includes mixing ingredients such as isopropyl alcohol and hydrogen peroxide. But Ag officials say the main goal is to keep the percentage of alcohol greater than 60 percent. 

Dr. Sudipta Rakshit in the College of Agriculture talks to reporters about making hand sanitizer. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

For information about TSU operations amid the COVID-19 pandemic, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/covid19.

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 39 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and seven doctoral degrees.  TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.  With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students  with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

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