Hospital School creation to help healthcare heroes

The students at The Hospital School at Westmead have shown that you are never too young to make a difference, producing mask extenders to help the hospital staff responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Using 3D printing, the students developed, trialled and adapted a number of different mask extender designs to find one that was the perfect fit for the Hospital’s doctors and nurses.

Hospital School teacher, Sammy Turner, said the idea for the mask extenders started as a classroom discussion about how to contribute as part of a cross curricula unit of work called ‘Our Community’.

“As part of our STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths) activities, we were exploring different products we could build and print on our 3D printer. Initially this started with each child designing and printing a personalised key ring for their school tags, but then we directed our innovation to what we could create that could be helpful for our community at this time,” Sammy said.

“One student suggested a device that helps us open to door so we don’t have to touch it, then another suggested the mask extenders to help the amazing hospital staff and hopefully protect their ears”.

“Everyone loved this idea and the students became really invested, so we built it into our lessons and made a school project out of it.”

The students, who are all either patients or siblings of patients at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead, have since printed more than 30 mask extenders in a range of different colours for staff around the Hospital.

“The students are really proud of their creation and are so excited that they have been able to do something that helps to make a difference,” Sammy said.

“We hope the nurses and doctors like our mask extenders and that they help their sore ears,” five-year-old Kindergarten student, Mia said. 

The Hospital School at Westmead is a Department of Education Public School and is the largest Hospital School in NSW. It provides educational support to patients (and siblings of long-term patients) in both primary and high school classrooms as well as teaching by the bedside for patients who are unable to attend the classroom.