Jad Jadeja, a Dripping Springs High School engineering teacher, said his goal is to prepare students to hit the ground running when real-life applications of their learning come into play—and during the coronavirus pandemic, they have done exactly that. Jadeja and several of his students are using 3-D printers to produce face shields—clear coverings used in addition to nose and mouth masks that prevent splatter from coughs as health care professionals treat infected patients.

The project started when one of Jadeja's students, a young woman who has her own 3-D printer and an interest in prosthetics, reached out to him.

"One of [my students] emailed me a couple of weeks ago and said, 'Hey, I've seen this article about ventilators. They're sub-$100, and you can 3-D print them.'"

Jadeja did some research and found out the ventilators were not "ready for primetime" yet, but he discovered calls online for 3-D printed face shields. He shared the idea with his students who had their own printers, and they volunteered to help from home. Meanwhile, Jadeja began printing shields from printers in Dripping Springs High School's lab.

The group has already agreed to donate masks to several local medical offices, including Premier Family Physicians in Dripping Springs and a dentist's office in Westlake Hills. As of Jadeja's last count, his group had produced around 50 masks in a few days.

"[The printers] have been running almost 24/7 for the last three or four days," Jadeja said. "We will produce as many as we can as fast as we can."

According to Jadeja, he and his students may soon print ventilators as well, as the formula and instructions for them have recently become available. As production proceeds, Jadeja said he is proud of his students' willingness to pitch in to help with the crisis around them.

"When a situation like this occurs, they're ready to go," he said.