Rockbridge schools install special air cleaners with CARES funds

Air ionizer inside of an HVAC unit at Maury River Middle School in Rockbridge County, Va.
Air ionizer inside of an HVAC unit at Maury River Middle School in Rockbridge County, Va.(WDBJ7 Photo)
Published: Jan. 11, 2021 at 4:58 PM EST
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ROCKBRIDGE COUNTY, Va. (WDBJ) - The public schools in Rockbridge County have taken a number of precautions because of COVID, including most recently going to all-remote learning.

But while the students were out, they took advantage of the time and some CARES funding from the state to go one step further.

When students return later this month, they’ll not only be social distancing, but experiencing some of the cleanest air found anywhere.

“We’ve done just about everything we know that we could do to improve our air quality inside of our buildings,” said Randy Walters, Rockbridge County Schools’ director of operations.

That includes UV lights at the entrances, and up on the roof new ionizers and higher quality air filters in every HVAC in every school in the system.

“The HVAC units is an area that we focused on,” said Walters. “And the ionization, the bi-polar ionization tended to be what the research was showing was killing the virus and making the air as fresh as possible for our staff and our students.”

There’s 70 ionizers at Maury River Middle School alone, and hundreds throughout the system in every school.

It was expensive – the money came from state CARES funding to help with COVID efforts – but they see it as an investment in the future.

“It’ll help with flu season,” Walters explained. “It kills mold, bacteria, anything that’s in our air system. We hope that this will be a long-term benefit for our school division.”

But most importantly, they see it as a way to keep their kids safe.

“I feel like our buildings are the safest place for our kids to be,” Walters said. “Like I said, I don’t think that there’s anything that we haven’t tried to put in our buildings to make them safe.”

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