Attleboro using germ-killing robot to fight coronavirus in schools

ATTLEBORO, Mass. (WLNE) – Attleboro Public Schools is deploying robots into classrooms and other high-traffic areas in school buildings to fight coronavirus germs.

The district purchased 10 ADIBOT Disinfecting Systems, made by UBTECH Robotics, using federal COVID dollars for its nine schools. The brand new Attleboro High School will get two of the machines.

“It uses UV light technology that’s been employed in hospital operating rooms for decades,” said Marc Furtado, director of finance for the district. “We had a lot of success last year protecting our staff and protecting our students from the situation, and, you know, we’re certainly open to new ways to do that. We had very, very little school-based transmission and this is just gonna make that better.”

Furtado said the group investing in the technology reached out to ask the district if it would be interested in trying it. A school district in Delaware had great success with it, Furtado said.

The machines cost approximately $18,000 each.

“There’s no real effective way for a person to disinfect the air in a room other than air exchanges through the ventilation systems. So this thing will come in, and anywhere light touches, the pathogen dies.”

The UV light is harmful to humans, so the machines will only run after school hours when maintenance workers are cleaning up in the evenings.

“You just deploy it in a room, there’s a whole bunch of safeguards that you have to kind of roll-out, and wait outside the door for three minutes. There’s a big burst of light and you’re done,” Furtado said. “(It’s) 99.9% effective with all kinds of pathogens. It’s not just viruses but bacteria. We’re doing some trials now with mold.”

The machines won’t visit every classroom, he said. Just spots that need it like the nurse’s office, the gym, the cafeteria, and classrooms where a positive COVID-19 case has been identified among a student or teacher.

“I can tell you the folks who are responsible for cleaning the areas are thrilled.”

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Categories: Attleboro, Massachusetts, News, Regional News