’It’s the only thing I can control’: Jacksonville teacher making medical masks during COVID-19 pandemic

Nationally, medical professionals face shortage of masks specially made to prevent COVID-19

Its the only thing I can control: Jacksonville teacher making medical masks during COVID-19 pandemic

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A Jacksonville teacher is taking matters into her own hands, making medical masks in her spare time while teaching virtual classes.

Terri Lehane, of Chets Creek Elementary School, said Wednesday she has made nearly 100 masks. She said she’s just trying to make a difference during the nationwide shortage caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Every day, Lehane trades her syllabus for a sewing machine.

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“This one happens to be all Easter eggs,” Lehane said, showing Action News Jax a mask.

Due to the coronavirus, Lehane has to teach virtual classes. In her spare time, she makes the masks.

“You just like make a rectangle, and then I sew the sides, and then I press it into pleats, and I put the elastic in, and then it’s done,” Lehane said.

She saw the idea on social media, and now has the community helping her by donating and cutting fabric for Lehane to sew.

“My cousin contacted me from Philadelphia and said, ‘Could you make me some?’ and, ‘I need them for my nurses on my floor. We don’t have any,” Lehane said. “And I said, ‘OK, give me a number, because I’ll make them.’ And she said, ‘50,’ and that’s when I went, ‘OK, can’t do this by myself.”

Nationally, medical professionals face a shortage of the masks specially made to prevent COVID-19.

While these masks aren’t medical grade, Lehane hopes they’ll serve as a reliable backup.

She said they can also be worn by regular people, too, as a reminder for us to stop touching our faces.

“We can’t go to work, we can’t see the kids at school, we can’t go anywhere, but at least -- instead of just sitting here until I’m bored, at least I can be doing something,” Lehane said. “I’m not bored. I’m busy, busy, busy.”