RIO RICO, Ariz. - As coronavirus cases continue to increase across the country, some school districts are getting creative when it comes to keeping students safe for when they return to school this fall.
For the Santa Cruz Valley Unified School District in southern Arizona, officials say they are adapting and taking all the essential safety precautions to reopen in August.
“Teachers will be wearing the PPE as well as shields, we’re looking at some desk shields as well for students…it’s really about getting our students back in person so that we can develop those relationships because that’s where the learning occurs and also providing that emotional support,” said David Verdugo, Superintendent of the Santa Cruz Valley Unified School District.
Along with rigorous cleaning practices, requiring masks, and offering online learning, the school district is using one tool that may set them apart from the rest.
They're using a Power Breezer, a giant fan that disperses disinfectants to combat COVID-19.
These giant fans called Power Breezers are being used to spread disinfectant across classrooms and on buses. The Santa Cruz Valley Unified School District purchased 6 of them (Stephanie Bennett/ Fox News).
“We mixed EPA approved disinfectants following the CDC guidelines, we dilute it to about a point one solution in water… and then we disperse it over 5 to 6 minutes…you get a microfilm of that disinfectant on all the surfaces, you let it sit for the dwell time anywhere from 5 to 8 minutes depending on the product your using,” said Bryan Hoadley, Chief Revenue Officer with Power Breezer.
Typically a Power Breezer is used to cool down the military or athletes. Once COVID-19 broke out, the company decided to repurpose its fans to help fight the virus.
“We quickly pivoted the entire company to focus on the solution,” said Hoadley. “You’re not going to have anybody in the room while you're doing the disinfecting. We recommend that you start the machine, you vacate the room, let the machine do its work and then come and turn it off with a mask on or something like that. So then once it’s ventilated, it’s very safe. It’s just like if you were going to a pool.”
School administrators say not only will it help keep everyone safe, but it is cost-effective, too.
“We’re always looking for proactive ways, especially when the pandemic hit, to one, prepare to come back to school but also keep our students and our staff as safe as possible,” said Verdugo. "This will help not only from a cost-effective standpoint to be able to disinfect our rooms on a daily basis but also utilize our maintenance staff to be able to do that in a faster way and be able to continue to do it on a daily basis.”
The school district has purchased six of these fans to be used in classrooms and on buses. For the new school year, they’re planning to offer students a mix of in-school and at-home learning.
Power Breezer has around 3,500 fans across the country. They say schools in Washington, Florida, and California are also interested in using them to disinfect. Food processing facilities, jails, and prisons are currently using them as well.