N95 Alternative Mask Production Project

April 2020

 

 

Student Work Opportunity-N95 Alternative Mask Production Project

You are invited to be a participant in a project to produce thousands of N95 Alternative Masks. This COVID-19 mask project is a collaboration between an amazing team from the College of Design, Mechanical Engineering, Chemistry and the Medical School.

You may have seen recent stories in the news, including this one from MPR.

“Medical school researchers, staff from the College of Science and Engineering and the Department of Design, Housing and Apparel recently teamed up to create masks that healthcare workers can use in a pinch. Scientists from 3M, which makes N95 respirator masks, advised the team and Schacker said the U is now testing its prototype masks.”

If you are interested, please continue to read below and use the forms and sign-up links to register.

Shifts

  • You must be able to commit to at least one 8 hour day per week and/or two 4 hr blocks (8-12, 1-5).
  • Weekly sign-ups will be available, so you can make schedule decisions one week at a time.
  • Mask production will occur in McNeal Hall on the St. Paul campus.
  • There are a variety of tasks to do and you will rotate between stations. The current goal is to make 5,000 masks by early May.
  • To sign up, please complete this form .
  • Provide your availability via the When is Good .
  • Please bring your lunch, your own water bottle or beverage, and any snacks that you want. We will ONLY be eating in the Atrium at staggered times.

You will receive a confirmation with the date and time you are scheduled to come to McNeal. If we have more students sign up than we need, we will start a waiting list as there are always last-minute changes.

Worker Safety

First, the most important aspect of coordinating this activity is the safety of everyone involved with the project. Unfortunately, this virus strain can be particularly malicious to those with compromised immune systems, cancer patients (even in remission), those with chronic kidney disease, and many others with underlying health conditions. This means that the people who are "involved with the project" include the people that you are currently living with.

  • Anyone who has ANY underlying health condition OR lives with someone with any sort of underlying health condition OR anyone who has travelled internationally in the past 14 days OR anyone that has felt even remotely ill OR anyone who has been exposed to someone who has been ill to PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE Do NOT volunteer for this activity. The organizers of the mask production hope that this consideration is not something you take lightly, as you have an ethical, professional, and moral responsibility to ensure that you do not have any chance of spreading the virus (especially to someone who has underlying health conditions).
  • The University of Minnesota leadership has recognized the importance of this mask project and has granted exemptions to us to ensure that we can conduct the assembly of the masks. However, it is ALL OF OUR responsibility to ensure that we prevent further spread of the illness. Please err on the side of being conservative and email (maskinfo@umn.edu) as soon as possible if at any time you believe it is in the best interest, or could possibly be in the best interest, to withdraw your offer to participate for the safety of those around us. 
  • In addition to ensuring that risk is minimized in who partakes in these activities, the leaders of the production will also be taking additional safety measures to protect those who are safely able to participate. While more specific details will be shared with you soon, organizers will be exercising extreme caution in preventing the COVID19 virus during the assembly of the masks. For example, assembly workspaces will be fully disinfected before volunteers arrive, scheduling volunteers to arrive in small groups, staggering the arrival and departure times of different groups to limit the total number of people in McNeal at any given time, requiring all volunteers to physically wash their hands with soap upon arrival in McNeal, requiring all volunteers to wear nitrile gloves at all times during assembly, ensuring that appropriate social distancing measures are adhered to, and we will be separating groups into different spaces within McNeal. 
  • You will have a mask and gloves to wear and there will be additional details about our safety protocol during orientation.  Your temperature will be taken when you arrive for your shift and you will be able to stay and work if your temp is 100.4 or below and you are not showing any signs of being ill or having contact with anyone who has been sick with COVID19 symptoms. The organizers and leaders of this project are confident that everyone will work to reduce the risk of getting ill by closely following all safety procedures.

Pay Rate and Other Associated Issues

  • Students who agree to participate in the N95 Alternative Mask project in the College of Design will be hired as temporary employees. The pay rate is $12.50/hr.
  • IF YOU ARE A CURRENT STUDENT EMPLOYEE: Please come to McNeal hall at your assigned time and BRING YOUR STUDENT ID. Come to the main atrium where there will be a check in desk and you will receive your initial assignment. There will be training videos available before you arrive so that you have a good orientation to the overall project and how each task contributes to the success of the masks. 
  • IF YOU ARE NOT A CURRENT STUDENT EMPLOYEE: Please come to McNeal hall at your assigned time and BRING a valid driver's license and your original social security card OR a certified birth certificate on the first day. (And your University ID) You will need to sign an I-9 form so that you can get paid.  Come to the main atrium where there will be a check in desk and you will receive your initial assignment. There will be training videos available before you arrive so that you have a good orientation to the overall project and how each task contributes to the success of the masks.

This IS NOT a Medical Reserve Corps deployment. Please contact maskinfo@umn.edu if you have any questions. Stay tuned for a future email from the project organizers with arrival times.