FAU faculty makes face masks to protect people against COVID-19

The inspiration comes from the 100 Million Mask Challenge, an initiative to produce more face masks for healthcare workers and the public.


Masks made my FAU faculty. Photo courtesy of FAU

Darlene Antoine, Contributing Writer

Faculty from the College of Arts and Letters are making visors to hold face shields for health care workers and face masks.

Nick Jones, FAU’s theater department costume shop manager, and Julie Ward, a visual arts professor, said they were motivated by the 100 Million Mask Challenge. That’s an initiative from a Catholic nonprofit called Providence and American Hospital Assocation whose mission is to produce more personal protection equipment (PPE) for the nation’s hospitals and health care systems due to the rising challenge of COVID-19, according to its website.

Jones also involved two of his friends, Sam and Catherine Transleau, to make the masks.

“Sam and I both have at-risk family members and friends and family who work in healthcare,” Jones said in a statement. “It feels awesome to be making a difference in this hard time.”

In that first week, Jones and his friends responded to the call by making about 250 masks, which were sent to the University of Washington hospital system in Seattle for distribution. This week they will drop off masks at Joanne’s Fabrics, which is making local South Florida donations to anyone who is in need of masks.

The masks are made from a cotton material called muslin.

According to a national survey from the United States Conference of Mayors, 91 percent of cities don’t have an “adequate” supply of face masks for first responders. 

“We are calling on manufacturers, the business community and individuals across the country to coordinate efforts — facilitate new relationships with hospitals and health systems — in order to rapidly produce needed PPE on a large scale for our nation’s health care heroes,” the 100 Million Mask Challenge’s website reads.  

Ward, an assistant professor of visual arts and art history at FAU, is using the college’s 3D printer to make visors that hold face shields for health care workers. Each visor takes about one hour and 45 minutes to make. Ward is searching out a place that could use them, and is willing to send them wherever they are needed.

“I think we’re all looking for something positive to do now,” said Ward. “I’ll keep making them as long as I can.”

The CDC has also put out recommendations on how to make, wear, wash, and maintain homemade cloth face coverings to prevent the spread of the illness COVID-19 to others. 

Darlene Antoine is a contributing writer for the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected].