FRANKLIN (CBS) – School officials in Franklin believe they are one of the only districts in the state that have installed ultra violet disinfectant systems that kills the coronavirus in the air in the classrooms.
“Based on engineering calculations it will kill 99.9 percent of the virus,” said Michael D’Angelo, Director of Public Facilities for Franklin Public Schools and the Town of Franklin.READ MORE: Johnson & Johnson Pause Prompts Methuen To Cancel 600-Person COVID Vaccine Clinic
The district used coronavirus relief funds for the project. The system is now fully installed at the high school which has a centralized ventilation system.
“We wanted to make sure that we had a solution that was going to take air that gets recirculated throughout the entire building and treat it and make sure we could use the UV to kill the coronavirus DNA and return air that was clean back into the high school,” said Dr. Sara Ahern, Superintendent of Franklin Public Schools.
Students in Franklin are in a hybrid model, but all elementary students are returning full time on April 5 and high school students are also returning on April 12.
“To date we have not had evidence of in-school transmission,” said Dr. Ahern.READ MORE: FDA, CDC Call For Johnson & Johnson Vaccine Pause To Investigate Rare Blood Clots
In addition to the ultraviolet germicidal irradiation (UVGI), the school also has mask requirements, distancing measures and weekly pool testing.
“We’re looking to reopen schools not because the virus is going away, but because we can keep our schools safe,” said Dr. Ahern.
In the last two weeks, coronavirus cases have been on the rise among young people. Nearly half of all active cases in the state are people under the age of 30. The majority are kids and teenagers.
“We definitely do have concerns hearing about the increase in cases,” said Dr. Ahern. “I think what has me most concerned is that the CDC guidance talks about opening schools, but being really conservative out in the public and so I do have a bit of apprehension and would just implore the public in other places and other gatherings to make sure they’re following all safety practices so we can keep our schools open.”MORE NEWS: Johnson & Johnson COVID Vaccines Paused In Massachusetts As Rare Blood Clots Are Investigated
In Franklin, all town buildings will also have the ultra violet technology installed by this summer.