To welcome students and faculty back into the classroom with confidence, Newark Public Schools announced that it awarded a contract to Bio-Shine Inc., based in Spotswood, New Jersey, to install more than 4,500 Odorox air purifiers in PK-12 classrooms, offices and other high-traffic areas throughout the district. Odorox, powered by PYURE Technology, is a hydroxyl-generating air and surface purification system that makes indoor air safe to breathe and surfaces safe to touch.
The COVID-19 pandemic reinforced the importance of good air and surface hygiene in schools. In addition to Newark Public Schools’ strict COVID-19 protocols and sanitation procedures, Odorox adds a crucial layer of protection. Powered by PYURE Technology, Odorox replicates the way sunlight sanitizes the air outside by generating and diffusing the same natural cleansing agents indoors. This technology has been proven to destroy SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, and is safe to use 24/7 around people, plants and animals.
"The district has made every possible effort to prepare our schools for the safe return of students and staff to in-person instruction, and this is one example of those efforts. Our city has seen high positivity rates, so we’re being extremely cautious and taking guidance from Newark Department of Health Director Dr. Mark Wade in our reopening strategy,” said Roger León, Superintendent of Newark Public Schools. “Our priority is the health and safety of our students and staff. We’re confident that we are able to resume in-person instruction in Newark’s public school system, and our buildings will be safe.”
Beyond its ability to kill the COVID-19 virus, Odorox is effective against viral seasonal infections like the flu and common colds, as well as norovirus and other gastrointestinal viruses. It also destroys airborne mold spores; cleanses the air of allergens, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and other irritants; and eliminates odors.
“As head of facilities, I know the central system indoor air quality control systems are working, but it’s not something that the people occupying those spaces every day can see. What’s great about Odorox is that you can see the machine working in the room and that brings peace of mind to students, parents and staff,” said Steve Morlino, Executive Director of Facilities Management for Newark Public Schools. “But the true value is that it does what it says it does – it kills the COVID-19 virus; thoroughly disinfects porous and non-porous surfaces; eliminates VOCs and other irritants from the air; and much more. We will do anything we can to create a healthier, more comfortable learning environment in our schools.”
“This equipment is great for schools because there is very little maintenance required and it is extremely energy efficient. PYURE’s hydroxyl-generating technology does not require contaminants within a room to pass through a processing chamber in the machine for it to achieve its 99% efficacy rate in sanitizing the air and surfaces,” said Jason Teigman, Executive Director of Sales at Bio-Shine, Newark Public Schools’ distributor of Odorox. “This is also why Odorox is able to work so quickly. There’s one filter on the unit to protect the components from dust, dirt and debris. Otherwise, as long as the unit is turned on, hydroxyls are being generated and dispersed by the machine into the air and onto surfaces.”
In addition to the 4,500 Odorox machines, Newark Public Schools’ COVID-19 protocols include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Masks are mandatory at all times inside school buildings
- Plexiglass sneeze guards are installed on desks and all classrooms are equipped with disinfecting supplies, extra masks and gloves
- Signage is posted reminding people to practice social distancing, wear a mask and wash their hands
- Free breakfast and snacks are provided at school, and at early dismissal, students are given a grab-and-go lunch option to avoid congregations in lunch rooms
- Food is also available for students’ families as well, if needed
- Many of the faculty and staff have been vaccinated and the rest are encouraged to get vaccinated as well
- The district has hosted several events at Barringer High School to administer vaccination.
- On March 24, Newark Public Schools announced a partnership with Ginkgo Bioworks to provide weekly pooled COVID-19 testing for all students and faculty in each classroom
- Strict access restrictions require any non-student or faculty member authorized to enter a Newark public school building to provide a negative COVID result
- Daily ingress procedures require all faculty, students and authorized visitors to:
- Answer the CDC’s required COVID-19 screening questions
- Step into a shoe sanitizing station to disinfect and clean their shoes, then onto an extraction mat to remove excess moisture
- Check their temperatures
- Apply a hand sanitizing agent
- Students are assigned a Monday-Tuesday or Thursday-Friday schedule
- Wednesdays are reserved for thorough cleanings and sanitization
Other sanitation and facility upgrades made by Newark Public Schools in response to the pandemic include, but are not limited to:
- Electrostatic sprayers for disinfecting porous and non-porous surfaces
- Kaivac No Touch Bathroom Cleaning Machines
- Air intake grilles are fully open to continuously flush buildings with fresh air and MERV filter ratings have been upgraded where appropriate.
In order to test the effectiveness of all COVID response measures, Newark Public Schools instituted air quality control and testing protocols that include, but are not limited to:
- Reflective light meter to test surfaces for microscopic living cells on surfaces
- Ion tester
- Regular CO2 measurement and monitoring
- O3 and oxidant meters
- More frequent air filter changes