By ABBY DRIGGERS, Alabama Daily News
Several Alabama universities and college are doing their part to meet their respective communities’ needs amid the coronavirus public health crisis.
“I am heartened by the generosity of college and university staff and students in supporting their community, hospitals and health care professionals,” Alabama Commission on Higher Education Executive Director Jim Purcell said in a press release.
In Tuscaloosa, the University of Alabama has supplied health care workers 3D printed personal protective equipment, and the Greek community on campus donated 5,000 pounds of food to the West Alabama Food bank.
The University of Montevallo, also supplying PPE to health care workers, is providing free WiFi to the downtown area of Montevallo.
Chemistry and geoscience professors at Jacksonville State University helped Yellowhammer Brewery and Distillery, a Huntsville-based brewery, with its manufacturing of hand sanitizer; analyzing the products to meet the World Health Organization’s recommendations.
Purcell says the efforts of assistance are inspiring.
“We are benefitting from technology being used in ways never before seen,” Purrell said Higher education institutions last month ended all in-person classes for the semester.
A community garden developed by Troy University and Troy Elementary School has transitioned to informational lessons on nutrition and gardening via Zoom. Troy’s Rosa Parks Museum is offering free virtual tours and resources at this time.
In Opelika, The East Alabama Medical Center has received medical supplies from Auburn University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, and three ventilators and disposable supplies from the university.
Auburn University’s equipment staff members, in lieu of training and athletic games, has turned its focus to sewing masks.
Partnering with the city of Mobile, the University of South Alabama is providing appointment-only, drive-through testing for COVID-19. The University of South Alabama Health will connect patients to access to health care providers in the area.
The University of Montevallo is providing tele-health services for those experiencing COVID-19-related depression and anxiety, and the University of South Alabama offers the South CARES Student Emergency Fund to provide direct assistance to students who have urgent needs.
“ACHE will continue to work with our institutions in innovative ways to assist students and the state’s needs during this pandemic,” Purcell said.
“This will be recorded as an impossible semester that has produced many heroes and new life lessons.”