Knox Middle holding mask drive for Novant Health

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 22, 2020

By Carl Blankenship

SALISBURY — Knox Middle School hopes to donate 500 masks to Novant Health as its way to give back during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The school has collected 100 masks in the first week of its mask drive. The West Innes Street Walgreens is a drop off location for donated supplies.

Knox Teacher Sally Schultz said Novant needs items like hand sanitizer and sanitation wipes, which are already in short supply and a specialty to manufacture. The school wanted to give families a way to contribute from home by making masks if they are able.

“It was one thing out of a list of supplies we thought we could possibly do,” Shultz said.

Schultz has been spreading the word about the drive via social media and word of mouth.

For the past three years Novant professionals have been visiting Knox in their free time to speak to students about what they do. Doctors, nurses and other people that make healthcare facilities run have been to the school to share.

“The thing is we want to give our kids as many opportunities as possible to be successful,” said Knox Principal Michael Courtwright.

Courtwright said the partnership is based on two of the Rowan-Salisbury Schools’ tenets: unique life goals and academic skills. He said there are so many opportunities in medicine besides becoming a nurse or physician.

Students have been able to hear about some of the jobs in medical fields, including emergency medicine and obstetrics, from the people who perform that work and see demonstrations of procedures like intubation.

Courtwright said the students love when Novant employees visit. A goal in middle school, he said, is to give students a taste of something that interests them that will hopefully develop into a passion.

“The more they get exposed to things, they more of those they enjoy,” Courtwright said. “We want to give kids that little nudge so they start trying a club, trying a sport. Kids at this age, they’re just so capable of doing amazing things.”

Courtwright credited Schultz, who teaches math, science and English, with keeping the partnership going and starting the mask drive.

“They’ve really gone out of their way to help our kids and they’ve made our kids feel like they do have a way to have a career in the medical field,” Shultz said. “We wanted a way to give back to those doctors.”

A Novant Health spokesperson said the health system is humbled and thankful for the outpouring of support and community donors.

Those who want to contribute to Novant can visit for instructions including standards for what Novant is able to accept as donations as drop off locations.

About Carl Blankenship

Carl Blankenship has covered education for the Post since December 2019. Before coming to Salisbury he was a staff writer for The Avery Journal-Times in Newland and graduated from Appalachian State University in 2017, where he was editor of The Appalachian.

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