SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. – The Seminole County School District purchased 135 battery-powered chemical misting sprayers to disinfect all classrooms every night when school starts in less than three weeks.
One mister each will go to every elementary school and two misters each will go to every middle and high school.
On Tuesday, Seminole County Schools Director of Facilities Services Kim Dove showed head custodians how to use the misters.
They will spray every classroom “touchpoint” - heavily-used surfaces such as desks, chairs, countertops, door handles, and faucets - and allow the mist to evaporate. School buses will also be misted nightly.
Additional custodians will be hired, Dove said, to create double shifts and provide as much as six additional hours of cleaning per day.
The mister emits a Coronavirus-killing chemical that is safe to humans and can even be used around food at a lesser concentration, according to the Seminole County School District.
Dove said the mister will disinfect schools at night, but custodians will use a cleaning spray and cloth to clean the schools during the day.
"We just went through and we have 5,000 bottles of disinfectant that we have that we're going to be delivering at every single campus," Dove said. "So every single room at every single SCPS campus it's going to have disinfectant. We also have a contract with a company that's going to be cleaning our towels."
Dove said common areas and touchpoints will be cleaned during class and classrooms will be cleaned during downtime at all schools all day.
Dove said she expects teachers will use the spray chemical to regularly sanitize their classrooms.
"We are taking every measure in implementing every strategy that we can to make sure that we are reducing that risk," Dove said. "I would say that the district put together a plan that has taken all those things into consideration and we work with the Health Department, we work with medical professionals, we work with teachers, we work with parents, we are doing everything we possibly can to ensure a safe environment."
Dove said if a student gets sick, his or her classroom will be ventilated for 24 hours and then thoroughly disinfected.
A majority of the Seminole County parents who selected a learning option chose at-home learning for their child.
School district spokesman Michael Lawrence said although registration is now closed, parents who didn't respond or would like to change their selection can still do that this week by contacting their child's school.
Lawrence said parents who choose the in-school learning option should feel safe.
“It’s a very personal decision and we understand that,” Lawrence said. “Families have to make the decision that is the best for them. I will say for families choosing to send their kids face-to-face or maybe have no choice but too because they’re working parents or single parents and have to have their kids go to school, I want them to know that if that’s the decision that’s been made and that’s a necessity then we’re going to keep that environment as safe as possible, same for a teaching staff.”
Seminole County schools start Aug.17.