Nixa School District buys UV light machines to disinfect classrooms

Published: Jul. 23, 2020 at 4:43 PM CDT
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NIXA, Mo. (KY3) -

The Nixa School District bought two UV light machines to disinfect classrooms in order to keep students and staff safe during this upcoming school year and prevent the spread of COVID-19. Assistant Facility Director, Brandon Thomas, said the machine is put in a classroom and runs for about 30 minutes.

“We use them at each location to help in hotspots, whether its COVID or we have the flu,” Thomas said. “Whatever the circumstance may be.”

The district hasn’t figured out a plan yet for how it plans to share these two machines with all schools across the district. Thomas said during the time the machine runs, it kills everything in the room.

“It refracts off of all surfaces,” Thomas said. “This will actually penetrate into six inches of a mattress.”

Each machine cost the district a little over $14,000 and allow classrooms to be cleaned in a different way than they normally would be.

“You don’t have the element of using chemical all the time and you just basically turn on a light switch and walk out the door and then you don’t have to mess with it anymore,” Thomas said.

Emily Bridges just moved to Nixa and said she hasn’t decided what her kids will do for the upcoming school year. She said wants them to do in-person learning so they can socialize but is afraid of the potential risks.

“Virtual’s not the same so I want them to be there but also it’s really nerve-wracking not knowing exactly what to expect,” Bridges said.

She said Nixa is taking steps to keep students safe, like these machines and requiring masks on school campuses, but not all of her concerns are eased.

“The UV light is impressive but I’m still nervous,” she said.

Recent studies show that air transmission can be just as, if not more, dangerous than surface contact. Thomas said Nixa upgraded the air filtration systems in schools across the district.

“We bumped it up to a MERV-11, which will filter about one to three microns, so we’re actually filtering more air, less mold, less pollen,” Thomas said. “It’s better on kids with asthma and different things like that.”

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