Soap and water, hand sanitizer, easily accessible tissues, hygiene lessons.
Now another weapon has been added to that arsenal for use in USD 428’s war against germs.
“School custodians now have an electrostatic sprayer to use schoolwide or in specific classrooms,” said Dirk Davis, custodians and maintenance director. “It uses a hospital-grade disinfectant.”
Davis said that recent outbreaks of childhood illnesses prompted the district to add one more layer to its cleaning process.
“We can treat all the surfaces in classrooms, halls and restrooms,” Davis said, noting the “fogger” is used whenever principals recognize a need and request the added cleaning measure.
So far, it has been used at two schools when the number of children and staff home sick pointed to the need for action.
“It’s not a magic cure all,” he said. “It’s just another tool to help us fight illness.”
“The reason we purchased the $500 machine is to help fight illness,” said Khris Thexton, interim superintendent.
“We are doing everything we can to keep students and staff healthy and in school,” Thexton said. “This is one more tool we can give our custodians to reduce the transmission of illness.”
The manufacturers of the equipment claim that the spray is effective on a broad spectrum of viruses and bacteria including MRSA and H1N1. The disinfectant used breaks down to simple salt and produces no harmful by-products.
It also claims that it provides 99.999 percent sanitation on food contact surfaces with no rinse required.
“The sprayer is easy to use,” Davis said. “It only takes about five minutes to clean a classroom or three hours to do a whole school.”
Electrostatic disinfection adds an electric charge inside the liquid droplets as they are sprayed. This makes the droplet electrically stronger and allows it to envelop the area being sprayed to more effectively kill germs.
“There is no hazard to human health and the information provided says it works on broad spectrum of illnesses,” he said. “It might be hard to prove it works, but I figure, it can’t hurt.”