Administrators at the Delaware Area Career Center spent Saturday going through the closed DACC Campus to find items the school could donate to local organizations to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
On March 19, the DACC Board of Education passed a resolution to donate supplies from various medical labs at the career center to Delaware County Emergency Management Agency, the Delaware County Sheriff’s Office and OhioHealth.
Superintendent Mary Beth Freeman said the DACC saw the donation as a way to support the community.
“Partnerships are something we talk a lot about at DACC,” Freeman said. “Our community supports our students through volunteering their time and expertise as well as through donations of equipment. Our partners have always been there for us, and this is our turn to be there for them. DACC is built on community partnerships, and our school is a reflection of that. The board, myself, and all of our staff see this is one small act we can do to help fight the spread of this virus.”
Freeman said she and DACC Principal Jim Gaskill moved as fast as possible to locate the supplies and collect them.
“In situations like this, time is of the essence,” Freeman said. “The rising number of cases shows the need is increasing, so we did the right thing and made gathering the supplies a priority. Principal Gaskill was working with our public safety coordinator to identify items. On Friday, I received calls identifying additional needs, and there was no time to waste. We have to look at priorities during a health crisis such as this and do the right thing.”
Gaskill said DACC administrators reached out to lab instructors asking them which supplies in their respective rooms could be donated. Gaskill and Freeman searched for medical supplies such as masks, gloves, isolation gowns and thermometers.
“Our teachers quickly responded and entered their supplies and instructions on a shared document,” Gaskill said. “With their guidance, the search took about three hours.”
He said being in the closed school was a strange experience.
“When I first entered the building on Saturday morning, there was an eeriness that had settled in much different from the normal activity one would find on campus,” Gaskill said. “It was quiet. No sounds indicating teachers prepping for classes or students arriving early for a day of learning. There’s an energy that you can feel in our building when it’s full of teachers, students, and community members all engaging with each other and learning together.”
The DACC began at-home learning March 17, and Gaskill said keeping that in mind actually made him feel hopeful.
“Seeing it empty, yet knowing that all of those same people are at home applying that same energy to connecting and working remotely, provided comfort and a sense of hope,” he said.
Gaskill said he volunteered for the task because he wanted to give back and help out.
“As an educator, I’m in the business of helping people, and I want to do my part to contribute to the effort of flattening the curve and slowing the spread of COVID-19,” Gaskill said. “This is one small way that my staff and I can do our part to help the agencies in Delaware County who are always so willing to help us. Our hope is that this donation will help our doctors, nurses and patients.”
He added the DACC will stay in contact with the Delaware County EMA to see if there’s any other way the school can help.
“Keeping our first responders and health care providers healthy is important to everyone in our community, and by doing so, it will help all of us return to our normal lives,” Freeman said. “The personal protective equipment we gathered on Saturday consisted of items that would have been used by our students if school had been in session and would have been restocked at the beginning of the next school year. I am glad that these supplies are not sitting in an empty building collecting dust, but are instead contributing to the health and well-being of our community.”
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.