of ventilating school buses. Hedgecock said UV photo- hydroionization is a better solution than simply opening windows. UV light (which should never be used on hu- mans and could damage components if shined directly inside a vehicle) works with a catalyst inside an HVAC unit to create vaporized hydrogen peroxide that actively and consistently treats the air as it passes through. Of course, such solutions cost money, which is at a

premium in school districts, especially for transpor- tation. “The biggest challenge is the word resources,” Hedgecock added. “Where is education going to spend the money it is allotted? If we are going to get our kids to school, we’re going to have to invest in the technol- ogy to not only transport them safely but [address] this unseen enemy.” Meanwhile, school bus HVAC manufacturers Amer-

ican Cooling Technology (ACT) and ProAir seek to introduce their own air ventilation solution. Already used in ambulances to sterilize the air, the technology can be used in school buses by installing the ventilation system in an onboard evaporator, whether that be used for air conditioning or not, said Dave Oberdorff, general manager of ACT. He explained that the companies are using the base- line of cycling cabin air 12 times an hour through a

3.5-inch-thick HEPA filter, which per U.S. Department of Energy standards must remove 99.97 percent of particles that measure at least 0.3 micrometers. With the virus trapped in the filter, the internal UV light then kills it. “We agree there has to be cleaning and sanitizing, and

airborne filtration must work in conjunction,” he noted. ACT and ProAir also offer a surface treatment for A/C

filters and evaporator coils. “It’s not going to contact all sur- faces,” Oberdorff noted. “The HEPA filter is much denser. But if you get 70 percent [of the virus], it is better than zero. It may be an interim step, if there are budget concerns.” Then, there is creating a physical barrier to halt the

spread of disease. A solution from the Transportation Accessories Group aims to limit the germ transmission between students passengers via plastic curtains that separate rows of school bus seats. The Original Soft Shield is a removable, soft plastic

barrier. Sales literature states that the product can be quickly installed, is durable, and it is easily cleaned. But student transporters must also do their homework

with barriers, as they might not comply with federal motor vehicle safety standards regarding school bus crashworthiness, according to an interpretation issued by the Texas Department of Public Safety. The STARTS Task Force last month noted similar concerns. ●

New HEPA-6 Filtration Unit

Please contact us for details. Ph: 717-767-2775

20 School Transportation News • JULY 2020

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