Barriere resident Rhonda Kershaw is Board Chair for School District 73, and also serves as the District liaison to Barriere Elementary and Barriere Secondary. (SD73 website photo)

Barriere resident Rhonda Kershaw is Board Chair for School District 73, and also serves as the District liaison to Barriere Elementary and Barriere Secondary. (SD73 website photo)

Electrostatic sprayers to be used in SD73 schools as part of cleaning strategy

Sprayers will only be used by trained custodians during evenings in unoccupied areas

“We are taking every step possible to keep students and staff safe in our schools,” said Rhonda Kershaw, School District 73 Board Chair. “This spray technology will add another layer of cleanliness for high-touch surface areas in our buildings.”

An electrostatic sprayer adds a negative molecule charge to the disinfectant as it is being sprayed, making it cling to all surfaces, and slowing down the evaporation process. The electric charge slows the evaporation time, allowing a longer contact time before it evaporates.

The District will use the same products in the sprayers that have been chosen for use in cleaning schools during the pandemic. These products are approved by Health Canada and demonstrate that they are likely to be effective and may be used against SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. The products are RMC Enviro Care Neutral Disinfectant and Wood Wyant Saber Vert2Go Concentrate.

The sprayers were tested at NorKam Senior Secondary over a weekend in mid-October while no one was in the building, to allow for maximum disinfecting effect and to see how long the spraying process would take, in the largest school in the district.

“The detail crew was able to disinfect the entire building in eight hours using these units,” said District Operations Manager Allen Blohm. “This means that If we ever have to disinfect a building because there has been a confirmed case, and under the direction of public health, we would be able to disinfect all surfaces in the building overnight, and we would not have to shut the school.”

Mike Diettrich and Rob Dejong are the SD73 custodian detail crew, fully qualified custodians with extra training and certifications in remediation, high lift work, tile work, and floor repairs.

“When you mist a table using this sprayer, the spray wraps around the table and clings underneath as well, not like a regular spray bottle that works using line of sight,” said Blohm. “This method allows us to fully envelop whatever is being sprayed. Another feature of the technology allows for spray to be turned to very small droplets (110 microns) which means you can mist paper without causing moisture damage. So we can disinfect paper and other objects without damaging them.”

“As we can all imagine, the workload on our custodians has increased significantly during this pandemic,” said Dr. Terry Sullivan, Interim School Superintendent. “With winter approaching and the need for additional cleaning looming, the arrival of this spray technology will be very welcome in our district.”

Blohm said 57 sprayers, certified by the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) and other international organizations, will be delivered to the District in a few weeks. They will be distributed to schools for use by evening custodians to speed up the general disinfecting of some frequently touched surfaces. They will be used for disinfecting certain frequently touched surfaces such as student desks, chairs and locker faces, and not used to disinfectant the entire school. The sprayers will only be used by trained Custodians during the evenings in unoccupied areas of buildings.

The cost of the sprayers is $123,000, which will be covered through the Supporting Safe Back to School funding initiative announced by the federal government on Sept. 3, 2020. This fund will also cover the necessary personal protective equipment each trained custodian will be required to wear while operating the device.