Students in the Rocky River City School District will be able to wake up and smell the clean air as they return to school buildings amid the pandemic.
The school board unanimously approved on July 20 a $455,387 project to install ultraviolet light filtration systems in every district building. Work on the Clean Air Project is expected to begin as soon as possible and last for eight weeks. The first day of school is Aug. 31.
“This is an important project for the district to help create a safer school and work environment for students and staff,” said spokesperson Greg Murphy, noting that the project is aimed at cleaning the school’s air and removing the possibility of COVID-19 spreading.
The project is being done by Trane U.S. Inc, which specializes in HVAC systems and is being paid for from the district’s capital expense fund. The district purchased this system based on the approval of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Murphy said.
There are three types of UV light that range from harmless to dangerous. This system will use UVC light , which can eradicate genetic material. The filters will use this short-wave UV light to remove airborne pathogens and microorganisms that pass through each system.
“Think of it as a circle,” Sam Gifford, executive director of facilities operations told the board. “The HVAC system will suck in old air from the building and push out air that has run through these filters.”
Using UVC light has become common practice since it was discovered in 1878. Hospitals, airlines and office buildings use this light to sterilize their facilities. The light is also used to sterilize drinking water, according to a report from the British Broadcasting Corp.
The district will join schools such as Magnificat High School, which installed a UV filtration system last year.
While the system is being installed because of the pandemic, it has other benefits. The system can be used year-round to protect students from other viruses, including the common cold, Gifford said.
“We’re going to get a lot of use out of this system for years to come,” he said.
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