LYIT proud to support efforts to address Covid-19 challenges

Photo illustrating the news item

Staff and Students have been making a significant contribution

Staff and students at LYIT have been making a significant contribution over the last couple of weeks to support frontline workers with some of the challenges presented by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Paul Hannigan, President, said: “We are honoured to be able to make a contribution to the national efforts of addressing some of these challenges and supporting the frontline workers during this crucial time. In recent weeks, our staff and students have worked in resourceful and imaginative ways to contribute to the local communities during these unprecedented times”.

LYIT’s nursing students are playing a vital part to the fight against the pandemic. Final year nursing students in General, Psychiatric and Intellectual Disability Nursing are HSE employees and are working with local hospitals and clinical partners. Dr Louise Mc Bride, Head of Department of Nursing & Health Studies, has facilitated nursing students from other years to apply for the “HSE Be on Call” agreement, whilst many students are volunteering in their local communities. LYIT Department of Nursing & Health Studies staff have also volunteered to support local HSE Occupational Health Department on contact tracing following increased demand on their services.

“It’s a display of their courage and resilience to step up to this call. These students are wonderful ambassadors of LYIT and the nursing profession. We are very proud of students working and volunteering at this very challenging time in the fight against Covid-19,” states Dr McBride.

The Department of Nursing & Health Studies and the Department of Science donated all their available PPE stock to local Public Health Nursing Partners which was gratefully received.

The Department of Science in LYIT have been working with Letterkenny University Hospital (LUH) in the production of hand sanitiser, in line with WHO guidelines, for use by staff working on the frontline. In addition to the donation of PPE, the Department have also made equipment and facilities available to support the national efforts as required. Dr Joanne Gallagher, Head of Department of Science, said: “The Department is delighted to be able to make a contribution to support the work of frontline staff and provide support, however we can”.

Engineering staff in LYIT along with technology teachers throughout the county have joined a nationwide campaign to supply protective face shields for medical staff during the Covid-19 crisis using the latest 3D printing technology. This is part of an international effort whereby shield designs are being provided free for use online to cut the design and manufacture time to a minimum.

LYIT engineers were approached by Dr Erik Korba, LUH, to ask if they could produce the face shields. Dr Korba reached out to LYIT, schools and industry having seen a free design for a protective shield provided online by a Czech engineer.

Using equipment normally used by electronics and mechanical engineering students for projects, LYIT engineers went into immediate production. Anticipating the shutdown of college buildings, they set up a 3D printing facility in Donegal Town and transferred production to there as well as maintaining production in the CoLab building on the Letterkenny campus. This combined effort resulted in the delivery of 520 face shields in the first week of production.

Dr Jim Morrison, Head of Department of Electronic & Mechanical Engineering, said: “We are delighted to be able to produce the face shields. The valuable skills and expertise of our engineering staff has now resulted in a series of tweaks to the design to allow a quicker production cycle. We are thankful to those working on the frontline”.

Local glazing manufacturers and other companies have also joined the effort and alternative manufacturing methods are being investigated to ensure high quality shields are produced for frontline staff as quickly as possible.

Furthermore, LYIT has been facilitating the Gardaí through extensive use of the CoLab building on the Letterkenny campus.

LYIT has always been a centre point to the local community in Letterkenny and surrounding areas. I am delighted to see staff and students, as well as other businesses and local residents, coming together in the fight against Covid-19. Work continues to evolve and other Departments within the Institute have additional creative work ongoing”, says Mr Hannigan, President.

Further updates on these creative and innovative developments will follow as they evolve.

16 Apr 2020