Wisconsin school district uses ultraviolet light to fight flu - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Wisconsin school district uses ultraviolet light to fight flu

MEQUON (WISN) -- Schools have scrubbed and cleaned to deal with the flu, and with the season just about here, one school district is wiping out germs with light.

Like school districts in every corner of Wisconsin, Mequon-Thiensville has a plan to ward off the flu.

Students are told to stay home if they're ill, use extra sanitizer is on hand this year and when the time is right -- out comes the secret weapon.

It's a device known as the mobile ultraviolet sanitizer.

"It kills all organics that the light hits," said John Zickermann of the /Mequon-Thiensville Public School District.

It's a germ killing machine.

"We set this for how many minutes based on the charts. Turn it on. Click it twice. Walk out of the room. Thirty seconds later, it turns on," Zickermann said.

And just like that, in as few as 12 minutes, Zickermann said it can scan the room and zap the germs.

"Even the weight room can go from an extremely high number to almost zero -- to almost food grade," Zickermann said.

The machines first came into play two years ago. It was brought in to sanitize the weight room and locker rooms.

Then, last spring, the swine flu showed up, and the light found new life.

"We were able to really focus attention on sanitizing classrooms quickly and efficiently with the device," Superintendent Dr. Demond Means said.

The superintendent believes the device kept the number of flu cases down, and now as the threat returns, so do the u-v sanitizers.

They're on a regular rotation, hitting classrooms once or twice a week.

There's at least one machine in every school -- eight of them in all. The district paid about $3,000 a piece.

"It's the type of investment we're willing to make to make sure young people are safe and healthy," Means said.

The ultraviolet sanitizer cuts down on man hours and human error, but the district still sanitizes high priority areas such as cafeterias, by hand, on a regular basis.
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