As the supply shortage for personal protective equipment has ensued as hospitals around the globe are fighting the COVID 19 pandemic both universities and community colleges stand ready to donate and help as the need arises. Where most of Arkansas’ nursing professionals and first responders received their education and training at one of the local community colleges they stand ready to give back to their communities and protect their alumni. Community college responses to COVID 19 in Arkansas have been essential to protecting frontline healthcare workers and their local communities.
Community College Responses to COVID 19 in Arkansas
1. National Park College
National Park College has been an essential partner in the community in helping the fight of COVID 19. Faculty and staff have gathered the personal protective equipment used by the nursing department for lab simulation training and donated it to local healthcare facilities.
With so many hospitals experiencing the supply shortage across the globe as healthcare agencies respond to the novel coronavirus these donations are greatly appreciated. National Park College has also made beds and respirators available for hospitals should they need them to treat patients. They have also offered to screen calls for the COVID Call center at the local hospital.
2. University of Arkansas
The University of Arkansas has organized PPE supply drives asking the local community to donate necessary items of PPE including N95 masks, surgical masks, surgical gowns, gloves, sanitizer, disinfectant wipes, and sterile swabs for sample collection. The health school of medicine has also gathered the PPE on campus used for labs and instructional purposes and donated that to areas where it was needed most.
They donated more than 100,000 pieces of PPE from the combined departments around campus. The University of Arkansas has also been utilizing its 3D printers to produce face shields and masks to donate to healthcare facilities as well as the general public. They have produced and donated hundreds.
3. Northwest Arkansas Community College
The faculty at Northwest Arkansas Community College has stepped up to help the Community of the City of Rogers once again during this crisis that has swept across the nation. As many hospitals have experienced a severe shortage of personal protective equipment Northwest chose to gather all of the unused PPE they had from various departments around campus and donate it to the local healthcare facilities to protect frontline workers and first responders. The food pantry has remained open through the pandemic to serve students who need food during these unprecedented times.
4. East Arkansas Community College
While the campus has closed for in-person instruction during much of the pandemic, East Arkansas Community College has remained committed to serving their students. One way they have been helping students during this time is keeping the student food pantry open 24/7 to make sure food is available for students on campus.
5. John Brown University
As the need for personal protective equipment became as severe as the virus itself local organizations and institutions for higher learning stepped up to help protect frontline healthcare workers by donating PPE. Faculty and staff at John Brown University have gathered PPE from multiple departments that will not be used while the campus is closed to in-person instruction. Thousands of items of PPE were donated to help protect healthcare workers in their local community.
Community colleges’ responses to COVID 19 in Arkansas have proven the essential role they play in communities in which they are apart. These institutions have provided courses for students to ensure their well-being during uncertain times, they have selflessly donated thousands of items of PPE and ventilators. Communities have benefitted greatly from the role of these unique and affordable institutions that are part of their communities.