One of the worst non-medical effects of the Covid-19 pandemic has been its effect on school aged children. Both educators and research scientists are finding that grades, learning retention, circadian rhythms/sleep cycles, and even general mental health are suffering as Zoom learning fails to fully fill the gap. Meanwhile, the slowing of Covid spread and the steady increase in the number of Americans who have been vaccinated is making it more and more feasible to reopen schools.
Yet the danger of Covid-19 transmission may remain for some time. How can we reopen schools and be certain we’re providing as safe an environment as possible? There is a clear answer and taking advantage of it can potential be funded by available grants.
UV-C and a Technological Solution
A proven germicidal technology that is usually used to disinfect surfaces and liquids has now been adapted to clean room air and provides a way to reopen schools and other communal spaces. The technology? UV-C lighting.
Germicidal applications using UV-C light, a portion of the ultraviolet spectrum, have been an important part of fighting Covid spread, and were adopted widely prior to the pandemic. UV-C is used in a wide range of applications, from water treatment to sterilizing nail salon tools. Robots equipped with UV-C lights disinfect public transportation, hospitals, and other communal areas.
UV-C damages the DNA in cells to the point they can no longer function, leading to cell death. This kills over 99% of biological hazards, eliminating mold, bacteria and viruses, including coronavirus. No method kills such a wide range of biohazards and does it so effectively. UV-C is applied with LED light sources that emit in the proper range.
So how can this be used to keep classrooms safe? A new American-made system, the Air Guardian applies UV-C to air cleaning.
How Air Guardian Eliminates Covid
The Air Guardian unit is installed in a classroom or other group space, using the room’s existing electrical infrastructure. It then draws air in, passes it through advanced carbon glass HEPA filters and through a 20-foot-long tube. This tube is circuitous by design, keeping the Air Guardian’s size to just 2 feet by 4 feet. As the air travels through, LED’s constantly expose it to UV-C light. Independent testing shows the Air Guardian kills Covid-19 in 13 seconds.
This continuous cleansing operation while the room is occupied is the optimal approach for reducing spread of the virus, especially when combined with other practices such as masking and social distancing. This, combined with disinfectant spraying or wipe-downs, creates the best possible multilayer defense against Covid transmission. Plus, Air Guardian produces no odors and runs quietly.
Grant Funding for Reopening
Installation of the Air Guardian in schools is covered by the CARES Act as well as a number of other available funding sources. The recently passed American Rescue Plan includes $128.6 billion in block grants to states for K-12 education, and these funds may be used for additional sanitization and ventilation improvement costs, as well as other expenses associated with creating a safe school environment. This ensures you can welcome teachers and students back to class in safety, without being concerned about the cost.
What About After Covid?
Once the Covid-19 threat is extinguished—or, as some authorities predict, it becomes a less urgent threat on the order of seasonal flu—what role can a system like Air Guardian play in your school?
In an environment where germ transmission is easy and common, reducing the risk of even minor diseases will pay off with lower absentee rates, and the morale benefit from staff knowing they are protected. Air Guardian systems can continue to keep the air in classrooms clean and pathogen free at a low maintenance cost. The sole maintenance need is to change the carbon glass filters 1 or 2 times per year. Because the system is warranted for five years, you can have peace of mind about replacement costs. Lastly, you won’t have any training costs when you install the unit; teachers simply turn it on and let it run.
If you think the Air Guardian may be the right solution for your school, get in touch with Thayer Lighting today and we can discuss your needs and this opportunity for increased Covid safety.