I've been teaching the engineering design process for the past two weeks to grade 9s in very difficult circumstances. The engineering process underlies all the work we do in our stochastic, tactile technology/engineering program. We aren't rote learning to the same standardized answer, so blind obedience to processes won't get us working results. We need to be organized, agile and able to step back and gain perspective in our non-linear problem solving circumstances like any good technician or engineer would when solving a complex, arbitrary problem.
I'm struggling with the half-baked safety plan we seem determined to follow at all costs. Rather than get more frustrated with the optics, politics and bureaucracy that drive it, I thought, "why not apply the engineering process to my intolerable situation?"
ENGINEERING DESIGN: COVID MASKS
- ASK:how do we resolve physically untenable policies around masks?
- IMAGINE: a Heath Unit/Canada COVID19 compliant masking system that is effective and comfortable (if it isn't comfortable it isn't effective)
- PLAN: collect data, research how COVID actually works, find existing solutions to best mitigate its spread
- CREATE: build a testing system, create a solution based process
- EXPERIMENT: try different mask types and materials
- IMPROVE: deliver an improved masking policy that is constantly in review
PLANNING: DATA COLLECTION
|It was a 15°C day today, it's still tropical in the mask.|
What do ASTM1 medical masks do that a more comfortable, properly fitted non-medical option doesn't? Not much in the context of a classroom. In a medical environment where a professional is working with COVID19 positive patients, a medical mask would be used in conjunction with a face shield to keep the medical worker safe in a known high risk situation.
|The appearance of medical safety, without the efficacy..|
- Must fit the wearer's face (current one size fits all masks do not fit all user faces)
- Masks must be comfortable enough for 150 minute continuous usage scenarios
- Masks must be breathable enough that users aren't constantly pulling them away to breathe
Advice on the use of masks in the context of COVID-19: https://www.who.int/publications/i/item/advice-on-the-use-of-masks-in-the-community-during-home-care-and-in-healthcare-settings-in-the-context-of-the-novel-coronavirus-(2019-ncov)-outbreakhttps://nymag.com/strategist/article/face-masks-for-beards.html
"Currently, WHO guidance considers surgical masks to be adequately protective for healthcare staffers working with potential COVID-19 patients, and advises using N95 masks in limited situations, such as when intubating patients, which is known to generate small particles from deep in the lungs. Healthcare workers who follow these recommendations have been generally protected against the virus, WHO notes."
Medical masks for medical work...
"medical masks protect people from the wearer’s respiratory emissions. But it’s designed to protect against large droplets, splashes or sprays of bodily fluid or other type of fluid."