“Party at Rosa’s” sounds like a fun Saturday night happening. But for an Illinois Institute of Technology student, or faculty or staff member in need of a COVID-19 face mask, that whimsical descriptive represents just one of 24 lively patterned fabrics that volunteer sewers fashioned into free masks, courtesy of the Idea Shop and Operation #MaskIIT. The project allows sewers to work remotely to make two different types of masks via a 12-step process depicted on the Idea Shop’s Prototyping Lab webpage. Begun last May, Operation #MaskIIT was initially created to assist students and essential staff on Mies Campus during the Illinois shelter-in-place directive. The free mask project, which continues today, is just one way that the Illinois Tech community has worked to minimize the risk and spread of COVID-19.
Following State of Illinois, City of Chicago, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, the university welcomed students to the start of the 2020–21 academic year on August 17 for move-in to Mies Campus housing including the newly renovated George J. Kacek Hall, named after George J. Kacek (EE ’54, M.S. ’55). Online-only courses were held for the first two weeks, after which students adjusted to the new norm of socially distanced classroom setups, intramural sports, and dining facilities.
Photos: Olivia Dimmer and David Ettinger