LAURENS, S.C. (WSPA) – The Jostens factory in Laurens, which usually makes high school memorabilia, is now making non-surgical face masks to aid in the fight against Covid-19.
For high school seniors like Hannah Ploch, spring semester has gone differently than imagined. Ploch has her cap and gown, but she’s not sure she’ll get to wear them across the graduation stage.
“It’ll be hard to realize that…going to college without having like that big moment everyone thinks they’re going to have,” Ploch said.
While students are possibly losing that rite of passage, companies like Jostens that make graduation gowns, are losing business.
“It’s been very heartbreaking for all of us to see the Class of 2020 have to go through this,” said Nicole Voropaeff, who is an engineer at Jostens. “It’s definitely not something that we would ever want to happen.”
Now the the Jostens plant in Laurens is using its machinery to make something that is needed.
“Our goal is about 8,500 masks a week,” Voropaeff said.
The plant is now putting out about 4,200 non-surgical masks a week, Voropaeff said, but they’re looking to double that in the next few days.
“We are looking to produce masks for as long as there is a need, both nationally and here in our community,” she said.
The company’s usual focus on students and their families has shifted to healthcare providers and businesses looking to protect their workers.
“It’s been fantastic,” she said. “Honestly, every single operator, every employee that works here is so excited to be a part of this.”
Jostens isn’t providing masks directly to consumers right now, but that’s something they’re looking into for the future.