An idea sparked by a student has seen a Bendigo school donate devices to healthcare workers that help make wearing masks easier and more comfortable.
Girton Grammar School's head of academic services and technology, Rod Smith, said the idea came about during remote learning in term two.
"We are always looking for ways to make what happens in the classroom a real-world reality, especially in our eleven technology-based subjects," Mr Smith said.
"During remote learning, we talked with students about the role and possibilities of technology in supporting pandemic management, and one of the students said he had seen the ear protectors on social media."
The devices attach to the loops on a face mask and hold them back behind the ears, relieving pressure and preventing the elastic from rubbing.
An initial run of 150 have already been donated to Bendigo Health, via a parent from the school community.
The gadgets were created using 3D printers at the school, with lab technician Peter Martin responsible for designing and making them.
"The students were not able to come into school to use the printers, however, one of our lab technicians acted on the students' enthusiasm and came up with an efficient design that uses minimal materials and printed the first batch of ear protectors," Mr Smith said.
The ear protectors are made from recyclable ABS plastic and can be sterilised.
It takes about 10 minutes to print each one.
Another 150 devices are being printed, to donate to Bendigo Health.
"We have a number of parents who work in the healthcare industry and if we can contribute in some small way to the efforts of people on the frontline of this pandemic, we will gladly do so," Mr Smith said.
Under government rules, all healthcare workers in Victoria must wear - at a minimum - a surgical mask, including those who do not interact with the public.
Masks are also now mandatory for all Victorians in public areas, with some exemptions.