Faculty member producing face coverings in wake of COVID-19 pandemic Teacher Shannon Sheldon sewing from the comfort of her home

Sewing a mask, Interior Design teacher Shannon Sheldon optimizes her free time to provide for those in need. Sheldon has sold homemade face masks to those even outside of Las Vegas, such as New York and Ohio. “[Our] masks are made of cotton and cotton blended fabrics that I had been collecting for years,” Sheldon said. “Some obstacles we have faced, [however,] are not having enough masculine or gender-neutral fabrics, running out of certain materials, obtaining materials with stores closed and delays in shipping.” Photo Credit: Mr. Sheldon

As there has been a spiraling demand for face masks, Interior Design teacher Shannon Sheldon, has taken matters into her own hands and started producing face coverings for those in need. 

My mother in law, who is a registered nurse in Northern LA County, called us the first Saturday after school closed,” Sheldon said. “We expected to have a nice day off, but she was in a panic because she was scheduled for 12 days straight, 10 to 12 hour days, and the hospital was running out of PPE. We figured if it was so bad in LA County that Clark County would soon be in the same boat.”

The mask, selling at $20 each, not only provides one for the buyer but also one for a frontline or essential worker.

When [my husband and I] hear back from someone who bought or received a mask, it makes us feel really great,” Sheldon said. “We regularly hear that our masks are ‘the best masks out there’ and we feel lucky to have the skill set to be helpful in this time of need.”

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While Sheldon is grateful for the donations of materials she has been receiving, such as fabric, elastic hair ties and metal nose pieces, there are still not enough to keep up with demand.

So far, we have sent masks not only to LA County, but to NYC with some traveling nurses,” Sheldon said. “We currently have a large order to make for the VA, an order for some underprivileged students in Cleveland, OH and an order for a local dance group who are providing them to their members who work in health care.”

Using up all her free time, as well as with the help of her husband, Sheldon hopes that everyone wears masks or finds the resources to make their own by using YouTube tutorials, or joining mask-making groups on social media. 

“I want people to emerge from quarantine healthy and safe,” Sheldon said. “Although the efficacy of our masks can’t be quantified, I hope that they at least made people feel safer as they went about their essential activities such as grocery shopping and going to the doctor’s office.”

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