WEST LIBERTY, W.Va., June 17, 2020 — In an effort to supply masks to staff as they return to work, West Liberty University 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.
“Meta has made more than 800 masks at 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,” said WLU’s Chief Human Resource Officer Diana Harto.
“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. All members of cabinet agreed that Meta and Rich offered a great solution to finding a provider,” Harto explained.
Harto is a member of President Stephen Greiner’s cabinet that includes other WLU leaders.
“Meta wouldn’t take any money for the labor, just for material needed to sew that many masks. 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. We are very grateful.”
All employees will get one cloth mask from their supervisors when they rejoin the workplace and that means about 300 masks are either distributed or will be soon.
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.
Lasch spent her own money to get started making masks back in March when campus first closed due to West Virginia 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.
Lasch has been teaching at WLU since 1981 and has produced well over 200 plays and musicals. Also a graduate of West Liberty, she teaches courses on 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. Our life revolves around the university and this is just an opportunity to give back,” Lasch said.
WLU is actively following all best practices for cleaning and mitigation of the novel coronavirus.
Classes will begin on Aug. 15 at the Highlands Campus and on Aug. 17 on the main campus. Move-in will be staggered and explained in detail to students via email.