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Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools installs new air filtration system to help curb COVID-19 spread

Bipolar Ionization units have already been installed in about half of the schools in the district. The plan is to also install them in school busses.

FORSYTH COUNTY, N.C. — Winston Salem/Forsyth County Schools has a new tool to help slow the spread of COVID-19.

The district announced Thursday it's the first school district in the state to implement bipolar ionization. It's a relatively new way to clean and filter air.

Small blue ionization boxes will be installed in HVAC systems across the district. 

The district said the bipolar ionization process produces positive and negative ions that essentially stick to and deactivate airborne particles like viruses, mold, and bacteria.

So when air is drawn into the filter,  it kills viruses and sends out clean air.

"Basically air comes into your classroom or your building it goes back out and then it hits the filter system and cleanses. So you may feel the air feels a little pure a little crisper but you really won't see it or know it," Darrell Walker, Asst. Superintendent of Operations said.

Walker said the district had been looking into technology like this before COVID.

"We have a lot of issues absenteeism especially in the spring with allergies and things of that nature so we’ve been looking for some solutions not just for COVID, but for any kind of virus or allergies or things of that nature," Walker said.

The technology is already popular in large office spaces, universities, hospitals, and airports. Walker said the district's cleaning policies won't change.

"We are trying to do all multiple levels of things to support this issue. We are still doing our day-to-day deep cleaning process we are still fogging our buildings once a week and this was an added value," Walker said.

It's already been installed in about half of the schools in the district.

They plan to finish elementary schools by the end month and middle and high schools by the end of February.

Walker said the district plans on installing the boxes in school busses as well.