Nebraska schools are donating 3D printers to make supplies for a hospital

By Christina Maxouris, CNN

(CNN) -- Five school districts in northeastern Nebraska will use their new 3D printers to print out personal protective equipment for nearby health care workers, Gov. Pete Ricketts said.

"A great example of local people stepping up, meeting a challenge and doing the right thing, figuring out how to solve the problems," he said in a Friday news conference. "This is why we're going to beat this virus, because we have people like that."

Nebraska has at least 89 reported coronavirus cases. Two people have died.

The school districts got a dozen high-quality 3D printers to use with junior high students through a state program in 2018 in partnership with Nucor Detailing Center, the major US steel producer's drafting facility in Norfolk, according to the governor's office.

But amid the US coronavirus outbreak, which has claimed at least 1,588 lives, that project now looks very different.

"All five districts have been very excited about the prospect of being able to help their communities during this pandemic," Ricketts' office said in a statement. "In addition to giving up their printers temporarily, they have all committed to donating the 3D plastic material and the clear acetate sheets (overhead projector sheets)."

The equipment will go to Faith Regional hospital in Norfolk, the governor's office said. The facility has not depleted its inventory but has a limited supply of protective equipment and so accepted the offer.

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