On Thursday, August 13, 2020, Brian Laurito and The Commonhealth Project donated 600 reusable face shields to the Special Services Department of Montville Township Public Schools. Laurito is a 2018 Montville Township High School alumnus and a Morris County Distributor for the volunteer-based The Commonhealth Project. The face shields will be used in all MTPS Special Services classrooms. MTPS Occupational Therapist Suzanne Schneiderman is also a volunteer for the organization. She coordinated with Laurito to secure this much needed donation. Pictured: Laurito, Director of Special Services Jennifer DeSaye, and MTPS Superintendent Dr. René Rovtar.
Montville Township Public Schools’ Department of Special Services received a donation of 600 reusable face shields on Thursday, August 13, 2020.
The generous gift was coordinated through The Commonhealth Project by 2018 Montville Township High School alumnus Brian Laurito and Montville Township Public Schools Occupational Therapist Suzanne Schneiderman. Laurito, a Morris County Distributor for the volunteer-based organization, is one of fourteen “Team Members” listed on The Commonhealth Project website. Schneiderman a Montville Township resident is also volunteers for The Commonhealth Project.
The Commonhealth Project’s mission is: “to tap into the spirit of volunteerism and goodwill – the greatest resource our community offers – to answer the call and help our frontline fighters in the battle for life.”
“The [MTPS] Special Education Department is so thrilled to have received this donation,” said Director of Special Services Jennifer DeSaye. “We needed face shields for specific students, types of classrooms and for specific staff and therapists. For example it is difficult to provide speech therapy if the therapist and student cannot see each other’s faces. In speech therapy you need to be able to see the student’s mouth and the student needs to see the therapist’s mouth, you can’t do that with a mask, so other options are needed. The shields also provide extra protections for staff and students”
While all MTPS staff and students will be required to wear cloth facial protection throughout the school day during the 2020-2021 academic year, the donated clear face shields will assist the Special Services faculty with specific instructional initiatives where cloth facial protection may hinder learning or be difficult for students with certain types of special needs such as Autism.
In reopening schools following the COVID-19 shutdown of spring 2020, New Jersey districts are navigating PPE policies, as well as PPE cost factors.
“This donation allows us to utilize our money in a different way,’ explained DeSaye, “such as providing students with take home items to enhance instruction during the virtual day or for virtual therapies.”
MTPS Special Services provides programs for students at all district levels from kindergarten to grade twelve. Additionally, Special Services coordinates the district’s morning and afternoon Integrated Pre-School programs for three and four year-olds.
Six-hundred reusable face shields were donated to the Special Services Department of Montville Township Public Schools on Thursday, August 13, 2020. The donation was provided by The Commonhealth Project. Since the onset of COVID-19, The Commonhealth Project has delivered face shields to hospitals, nursing homes, first aid squads, police stations and now schools in five New Jersey counties.
Managing more than 200 volunteers who help Build, Drive, or Donate, The Commonhealth Project has delivered face shields to hospitals, nursing homes, first aid squads, police stations and now schools in five New Jersey counties since the onset of COVID-19.
“We began as a response to a design challenge proposed by the NJIT [New Jersey Institute of Technology] Albert Dorman Honors College for a medically sound, marketable face shield,” states the CommonhealthProject.com website. “Seeing our friends and family risking their lives and continuing work without equipment, we knew we needed to help. But we had a challenge – how could we mass produce the face shields without an assembly line, which are risky in quarantine?”
The Commonhealth Project is self-described as: “a collaborative, community-based team protecting frontline healthcare workers by solving the PPE shortage.”
The “Team Member” answer to the quarantine shortage of PPE face shields was to create a “community-driven decentralized delivery network.”
In each county, volunteers have shield construction kits home-delivered to them by drivers – who pick up finished shields at the end of the weekend for delivery to donation centers. Each county is an autonomous region with a central distributor, its own drivers and constructors, and shield drop-off locations. The Commonhealth Project works with the NJIT Makerspace to build a reusable face shield, producing the components on 3-D printers. Each shield comes with instructions for fitting and cleaning the reusable item.
“[The face shields] will be laid out at night to be sprayed during deep cleaning of classrooms,” DeSaye said.
Montville Township Public Schools classrooms will be deep cleaned at the end of each school day, and each academic building will be deep cleaned on Wednesdays when all Pre-K to grade twelve students in the district will attend school virtually.
“We will assign face shields for special services first and share with nurses next,” DeSaye said. “The remainder will be shared with any other program that might find them helpful.”
Shields will be worn with cloth facial coverings except when cloth coverings must be removed for instructional purposes.
Montville Township Public Schools is a Pre-K to grade twelve district in Montville Township, New Jersey. There are five elementary schools located in Montville, Towaco and Pine Brook, New Jersey. The district is also home to Robert R. Lazar Middle School and Montville Township High School. Nearly 3,440 students are registered for the 2020-2021 school year.