Royal Oak schools install ultraviolet light air purification units

Back to class amid the COVID-19 pandemic means special protocols have to be in place to keep students and staff safe. In Royal Oak Schools that includes a brand new system to purify the air inside.

"Classroom air is brought into that unit - it's treated with high-intensity UVC and then comes back out into the classroom space, as completely sterile air," said Patrick Murphy.

Murphy is the operations manager for the school district. He says they looked for guidance from the World  Health Organization, the CDC, their local health department - and consulted with the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers - ultimately deciding on this UVC technology.

"What it came down to is that UVC technology is the only system 100 percent endorsed by ASHRAE," said Murphy.

It is ultraviolet light in a specific bandwidth.

"That's exactly the frequency of light that will kill COVID-19, allergens, influenza, many others - so this will provide protection for COVID-19 and beyond," said Murphy.

"We are also taking care of large spaces - cafeterias, gymnasiums, our learning commons will also be treated by rooftop units," said Kathy Abela.

Abela is the executive director of finance and operations. She says federal grant funds from the elementary and secondary school emergency relief program helped make the $1.5 million project possible.

"One of the district decisions was to use these funds specifically to enhance our air quality," she said.

One of the many strategies in place - in hopes of keeping everyone safe.