- November 2, 2021
Two men in masks and goggles work in tandem, one navigating the extension cord and the other wielding an electrostatic sprayer, on March 16, at Buddy Taylor Middle School. One spray of mist aimed at the front of a row of bright purple, plastic chairs ensures that the backs of the chairs are also disinfected, as the negative charge of the electrostatic spray clings to the positive charge of the chairs and effectively wraps around each surface.
"People are dying from this, and I think people are seeing it’s not a funny meme about a Corona beer. It’s for real."
JASON WHEELER, Flagler Schools community information specialist
“It’s pretty cool technology,” said Chris Shudy, Flagler Schools Custodial Services director.
While students are at home during spring break and beyond, Flagler Schools Custodial Services is using two such sprayers among its staff of 144 employees to disinfect every facility — 2.3 million square feet — to fight the coronavirus and prepare the district for a safe return of students and staff. The return date is not yet set, but it will be sometime after March 30.
Shudy, during on a media tour on March 16, said robust protocols and technology have been in place since 2017, when the district got its first electrostatic sprayer to implement the Clorox Total 360 System.
Typically, each school is sprayed two to three times per month on a rotating schedule. Seven more sprayers are on order, which will give one per campus at Flagler Schools.
The Clorox 360 spray only has to remain wet on a surface for 30 seconds to kill coronavirus, Shudy said. By comparison, the HDQ Neutral disinfectant that is normally used would have to be kept visibly wet for 10 minutes to kill coronavirus on, for example, a doorknob. Using the more efficient and more effective sprayer allows the staff to clean up to 18,000 square feet per hour.
Shudy follows Environmental Protection Agency guidelines to determine which cleaner is effective against which virus and how long the cleaner needs to be applied for it to be effective. Families can follow the same guidelines by reading the backs of cleaning bottles at home, he said.
While some are using the sprayers at schools, other crews are cleaning the old fashioned way. They use rags and Clorox Disinfectant to wipe down all “touch points,” includes doorknobs and light switches, but also some hidden ones like the underside of a chair, where a student might touch to pull the chair in as he or she sits at a table.
Shudy praised the dedication of the custodial staff. One example was a man who volunteers with the African American Mentor Program and recently attended a Doughnuts with Dads event as a surrogate father.
“They have pride in their school and always work with a smile on their face throughout the school year — no matter what is happening,” he said. “They come to work, and their ultimate goal is to keep the students and staff safe and healthy and reduce absenteeism.”
Jason Wheeler, Flagler Schools community information specialist, said it’s important to remember that even if you’re not at risk for getting sick, others are.
“We have a number of grandparents raising their grandkids,” he said. “We’re so interconnected in this county. It affects others. I don’t think this is a case of the media trying to make something more of it. As tests results come back, we’re going to see these cases go up exponentially.”