MUNDELEIN, Ill. – You might call it a coronavirus killer on wheels.
Ultraviolet technology is allowing Mundelein High School to zap the coronavirus with the flip of a switch. The tech is allowing the school to clean classrooms quickly and keep kids on campus.
“It’s 99.9% effective on the coronavirus, MRSA, influenza, things like that,” Mundelein High School facilities director Kevin Quinn said.
For decades, hospitals have been using ultraviolet light to sanitize labs and operating rooms. But now, a company out of San Francisco is putting it on wheels.
“The technology has been around for a long time. Now it’s housed inside of a portable unit geared specifically for schools, that’s the advent of this product,” Quinn said.
He showed FOX 32 one of the five R-Zero units recently purchased for Mundelein High School, which is one of 75 schools around the country giving it a shot.
Each night, custodians move the machines from classroom to classroom, office to office, placing them near the middle of the room. Then, they press a button which allows 30 seconds to leave the room before the ultraviolet lights activate, killing nearly all the germs and viruses in an 1100 square-foot area in just seven minutes.
“There hasn’t been a single case of a transmission linked to this school since we’ve been using this,” Quinn said.
However, it is not cheap. The units cost between 12 and $15,000 apiece and at Mundelein High School, they used federal CARES money to help pay for the purchase.
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The district says initially there was some concern from parents and staff, but combined with other COVID prevention measures, it is working.
“We’ve done lots of demonstrations and they feel really safe. Because it is such an amazing tool for the health and safety of our students and our staff,” said Assistant Superintendent Stacey Gorman.
When the pandemic ends, the school plans to continue using the lights to keep a lid on other flus and colds bugs.