PHOENIX - Students are back in school with safety as a top priority and the Dysart Unified School District (DUSD) in the West Valley is stepping up its game to take on COVID-19 using a high-tech tool.
With COVID-19 cases surging again and mask policies causing an uproar, DUSD added a layer of protection – one that you can’t even see.
The technology is called a needlepoint bipolar ionization system.
"I’ve heard that they’ve installed them and they’re supposed to clean the air or filter the air. Which is great. I think it’s better than doing nothing. If it works great. If it doesn’t, then it’s really not hurting anything," said Joyce, a parent within the district.
Devices were being installed in the ductwork over the summer months. There are 2,700 of them in the district's 26 schools.
The cost: $2.8 million.
However, it didn’t cost the district a dime as it was paid for by the federal COVID-19 relief fund.
"People want to know if this is the silver bullet to solving all these problems. And it isn’t. It’s a very effective solution for air quality but we are so want to continue with COVID etiquette," explained Dr. Quinn Kellis, superintendent of DUSD.
How does the device work?
The device is basically an air scrubber.
It shoots out ions that connect with other particles like COVID-19, it clumps them together so they get caught up the in ventilation system before making it into the next room.
The ions also attach to dust, pollen, mold bacteria and other viruses, like the flu. The device comes with an expected shelf life of 20 years.
The district says so far, this semester's COVID-19 case count remains low, and however it’s happening, that’s what every parent wants to hear.
"I think the school is doing everything they can to try to mitigate the risk of getting COVID. Staff wears masks even though they don’t have to. A lot of students wear masks even though they don’t have to. So I think everyone’s being responsible as possible. So I’m comfortable sending her," Joyce said.
DUSD is also purging the air from its schools every morning to allow fresh air inside, monitoring the air quality and regularly swapping out air filters.
The district does not have a mask mandate in place.
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