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Lehigh Career & Technical Institute (LCTI) is paying it forward with a donation of approximately 9,000 face masks to Lehigh Valley first responders and health care providers amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The now highly sought N95 respirator masks were donated to LCTI’s Supply Chain Management & Logistics Technology program a decade ago, but largely went unused and have been sitting in the school’s distribution center for years. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health-approved masks are valued at $1.18 each or a combined $10,620.
Lehigh County Emergency Management Special Operations Coordinator Jonathan Al-Khal and two colleagues stopped by LCTI on March 31 to pick up the masks and other personal protective equipment (PPE).
“Supplies everywhere are very limited at this moment, mainly because everybody in the country is trying to grab the same pile of supplies,” Al-Khal said. “This really is a huge help for us here in the county, mainly because we have a lot of first responders in need of gloves, masks, gowns that LCTI has graciously donated to us.”
Kurt Adam, the school’s director of career and technical education, says donating the masks was a no brainer. “Safety comes first at LCTI, so one of the first things our students learn is how to put on personal protective equipment. We understand how important it is that EMTs, paramedics, doctors and nurses have everything they need to stay safe on the front lines of this pandemic,” he said.
LCTI’s Joint Operating Committee approved the donation earlier in March and school administrators contacted emergency management officials, who will distribute the masks as needed to first responders and health care workers at Carbon Lehigh Intermediate Unit 21, Fellowship Community, Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network, HCR ManorCare, Lehigh Valley Health Network, St. Luke’s University Health Network and other organizations that may need them.
The school is also donating 22,600 pairs of nitrile gloves in various sizes, 1,712 safety glasses and 17 safety goggles valued at a combined $6,250. LCTI keeps the PPE on hand to train students in a number of its career and technical education programs, including Criminal Justice, Dental Technology, Emerging Health Professionals, Exercise Science & Rehabilitation Services and Health Occupations.
“The region’s health care professionals serve on advisory councils for our programs, they provide job shadowing and internship opportunities for our students — whenever we need help, they step up,” Adam said. “Along with washing our hands and practicing social distancing, this donation is one small way we can step up for them.”
For more information about the COVID-19 pandemic and how it is affecting the Lehigh Career & Technical Institute community, visit www.lcti.org/coronavirus.