OHS donation

Ontario High School science department head Tracy Watts, middle, helps members of Saint Alphonsus Medical Center-Ontario load a van with medical supplies, including masks and gloves, on Friday.

ONTARIO — While many places statewide are closing down in order to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus COVID-19, there are still opportunities for people to do good things for others.

On Friday, Ontario High School made sure to help out, as the science department donated its personal protective equipment (PPE) to Saint Alphonsus Medical Center-Ontario.

According to Tracy Watts, who teaches science at Ontario High School, the school was sitting on a lot of equipment that was going to go unused, both for school purposes and for extracurricular activities. Currently, hospitals statewide are working around the clock to care for patients with COVID-19 and there is worry that the state does not have enough PPE and beds for all of those patients (and the non-COVID-19 patients that hospitals work with).

“It occurred to me that our OHS HOSA (Future Health Professionals) team had isolation gowns and masks that we had purchased for competition in April,” Watts wrote in an email to the Argus. “With current school closures and the cancellation of our State Leadership Contests, those were going unused. I also knew that the OHS science department had a large supply of gloves that we usually use in our spring labs.”

Watts reached out to her school colleagues, as well as Ontario High School Principal Jodi Elizondo and everyone was in quick agreement that sending the materials was the right thing to do.

“I was able to gather a large flat cart of supplies,” Watts said. Saint Alphonsus representatives were able to pick up the supplies on Friday afternoon.

Ken Hart, the president of Saint Alphonsus Medical Center-Ontario, said he was overjoyed to receive the donation from Ontario High School.

“I was deeply touched when I received the call from Ms. Watts at Ontario High School asking about the students donating supplies of masks and gowns from the allied health program to the hospital,” Hart wrote in an email. “It is gestures such as this from our local school during these difficult times that should remind us all what a wonderful community we live in.”

Hart also added that the hospital will not forget about the donation from Ontario High School when the current COVID-19 situation is over.

“The hospital looks forward to donating these supplies back plus more in the future to show our deep appreciation to the students of Ontario High School and health careers program,” Hart wrote.

Watts said letting the materials go to Saint Alphonsus was a bittersweet experience, as it signaled the official end of HOSA and other in-person labs that could have been done at OHS.

“It was heartbreaking thinking that we wouldn’t be using them ourselves,” she said. “The HOSA team has worked hard earning money and practicing for their competitions. Science teachers miss our kids and would rather be with them in the classroom. It makes sense, though, that those supplies go where they are needed. I’m hoping other teams/schools would have supplies they could contribute as well.”

Nik Streng is the sports reporter for the Argus Observer. He graduated from the University of Oregon in 2015 with a master's degree in journalism, after graduating from Pacific University in 2013 with a degree in creative writing.

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