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MassBay Professor Sews Masks to Help Fight Against COVID-19

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Grateful Dead Mask masks WELLESLEY HILLS, Mass. (April 13, 2020) — MassBay Community College Associate Professor of History, Dr. Jill Silos of Bradford, MA, has been using her spare time to sew masks for family, friends, neighbors, and local senior-living homes whose residents are immune-compromised and don’t have access to other masks. Dr. Silos, who is currently teaching five classes via remote learning, has sewn more than 100 masks with the help of her husband. She has distributed the masks locally, as well as to New Hampshire, Connecticut, Florida, and Ohio.

“I had a large stockpile of quilting fabric in my attic sewing room and decided to put it to good use,” said Dr. Silos. “I started making masks for some family members, including my mother who lives in Connecticut and has a serious chronic illness and gets sick very easily. Then, the family of an immune-compromised little girl in my neighborhood needed some for extra protection for visiting nurses, so I made some masks for them. Then, another neighbor asked for some masks for someone who works at a rehab hospital. That is how it started.”

She adds, “I use my knowledge as a history professor and have adapted the industrial assembly line processes, about which I teach, to assemble the masks by component pieces. There was a trial-and-error process, but I now have an efficient system for production.”

Dr. Silos, a loyal fan of the Grateful Dead, has created Deadhead-themed masks for $10 each, plus shipping. “This is completely non-profit, I use all the money generated to purchase more fabric, elastic, thread, and interfacing for masks for nursing homes. I knew the Grateful Dead community would whole-heartedly support this. Many Deadheads around the country have ordered them and have also donated additional money to support the production of masks.”

Dr. Jill Silos wearing a homemade mask and donated masks. Photos courtesy Jill Silos.

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MassBay Community College is ranked by the Brookings Institution as one of the top schools for value added and earned salaries in the workforce. Ranked #1 for two-year colleges in Massachusetts, #2 in New England, and #16 nationally. The College’s facilities in Wellesley Hills, Framingham, and Ashland house day, evening and weekend classes that meet the needs of degree-seeking students and career minded lifelong learners. Online options provide convenience and allow faculty to facilitate the learning process. Since its founding in 1961, MassBay has been accredited by several governing bodies and strives to meet the needs of the diverse local communities it serves.

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