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WLU Theater Faculty Creates Masks for Returning Staff

WLU Human Resources Generalist Brian Schamp and Chief Human Resources Officer Diana Harto display a few of the masks that staff can select as they return to campus. Technical Director of Theatre Meta Lasch and her husband Richard Deenis have been creating cloth masks for about six weeks.

WEST LIBERTY – In an effort to supply masks to West Liberty University staff as they return to campus during the COVID-19 pandemic, the school has a willing seamstress busy stitching up protection.

Longtime Technical Director of Theatre Meta Lasch and her husband Richard Deenis have been creating cloth masks for about six weeks.

They started to make them as a response to requests from people who knew of Lasch’s talent for sewing. Deenis is an adjunct member of the theatre faculty and a carpenter.

WLU Chief Human Resource Officer Diana Harto said Lasch has made more than 800 masks to this point.

“She’s made them for many friends and a variety of organizations and we turned to her since she is a real expert,” Harto said.

Lasch has been teaching at WLU since 1981 where she has produced more than 200 plays and musicals. Also a graduate of West Liberty, she teaches courses in costuming, makeup, lighting, drafting, and stagecraft.

Her sewing shop is a busy place with students learning everything from design to craftsmanship.

“I was happy to provide the masks needed for campus as we get back to business. Richard and I are pleased that we could be of service,” Lasch said. “Our life revolves around the university and this is just an opportunity to give back.”

Lasch spent her own money to get started making masks back in March when campus first closed due to Gov. Jim Justice’s Stay at Home order as the pandemic began to sweep the country. She followed the CDC’s recommendations and created colorful, comfortable and safe masks.

“Meta wouldn’t take any money for the labor, just for material needed to sew that many masks,” Harto said. “All cabinet members donated their personal money through the WLU Foundation to purchase materials necessary and Meta and Rich have made enough for all employees to receive a mask as they return to campus.”

All employees will get one cloth mask from their supervisors when they rejoin the workplace, which means about 300 masks are either distributed or will be soon.

“She offered to make us as many as I needed for our staff. I brought it up in our President’s cabinet meeting a few weeks ago and we talked about providing all employees with a cloth mask,” said Harto, who is a member of President Stephen Greiner’s cabinet that includes other WLU leaders. “All members of cabinet agreed that Meta and Rich were a great solution to finding a provider.”

Currently, WLU employees are returning to campus slowly and on a staggered basis. The campus isn’t expected to open completely to the public until mid-July and only after it is deemed safe to do so by the CDC and all state health experts.

WLU is following all the best practices for cleaning and mitigation of COVID-19.

Classes are scheduled to begin Aug. 15 at The Highlands Campus and Aug. 17 on the main campus. Move-in will be staggered and explained in detail to students via email.

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