Reopening Schools Safely: Getting Students Back Into Classrooms With R-Zero’s Arc UV-C Disinfection

Young students with masks and disinfectant in classroom

Reopening schools safely requires a strong plan of action. Our new R-zero Arc UVC light tower will be your number one tool to making it happen safely.

Getting Students Back Into Classrooms With R-Zero’s Arc UV-C Disinfection

We all feel the strain of the current pandemic crisis, which has had many effects on our day-to-day lives, and few spaces have felt changes more acutely than our schools. We all want our students to get back into their classrooms, but of course we want that to happen in a way that is safe and lasting.

OTW Safety is a leader in safety innovation. We manufacture safety equipment for highways, construction sites and businesses, for both traffic and crowd control, and more. We love providing our clients with customized safety solutions both through our manufactured products as well as through strategic partnerships. So we are excited about our new partnership with R-Zero and their UV-C disinfection system that is designed for many dynamic spaces, and is an excellent fit especially for reopening schools.

The R-Zero Arc UV-C Light Tower provides hospital-level disinfection that is safe, powerful, easy-to-use, and is a great way to build confidence in your community that their safety and the safety of the students is your priority.

What Is UV-C, And Why Is It So Effective?

We’ve all heard of UV light, but what makes UV-C so special? Different from the UV-A you might find in a tanning bed, UV-C is short wave ultraviolet radiation that specifically destroys bacteria, mold, viruses and other biological contaminants in the air, liquids, and on surfaces. It is the UV light that makes the outdoors safer— the part of sunlight that kills the microorganisms that can collect in indoor spaces and spread.

R-zero Arc in classroom.
The R-Zero Arc UV-C Light Tower in action inside a classroom.

The Arc uses this specific wavelength in a powerful, concentrated way that can disinfect your spaces quickly and effectively. UV-C germicidal irradiation has been around since the 1930’s and used in hospitals for decades. It is recommended by the CDC for disinfecting medical equipment, and work with germicidal UV even boasts a Nobel Prize in Medicine. This technology is proven, powerful, and now accessible for spaces like schools in R-Zero’s Arc system.

It’s Powerful, But What Makes It Safe For Reopening Schools?

Schools have many unique circumstances that actually make the Arc a great option for disinfection. Each classroom has different equipment, layouts, and high-touch areas. R-Zero’s Arc is meant for dynamic spaces. Worried about coverage? The UV-C light is effective even as it bends and bounces around the room, but with cycles less than 10 minutes (an average classroom at 900 square feet would take approximately 5 minutes), you can easily move the system to another spot in the room and run it again. Still feeling nervous? R-Zero provides pathogen cards you can place anywhere to indicate by color how much UV-C exposure is reaching that area.

Chemical disinfection leaves behind residue that can be unsafe to come into contact with for even hours after cleaning. The Arc leaves nothing behind except a clean surface, making it safe to re-enter the room and handle toys, equipment, or even food immediately after disinfection.

Reopening Schools And Keeping Them Open

Germs are no stranger to schools, even before the pandemic hit. Influenza, Norovirus, and the Common Cold all run rampant throughout schools, affecting students, teachers and staff. It’s not just high-touch areas that are the issue. Infections like COVID-19 are transmitted mainly through the air, where manual disinfection and electrostatic sprayers are not able to disinfect. UV-C light not only disinfects surfaces, but the air as well, leaving it cleaner than chemical disinfectants ever could. This is key to being able to not only open our schools sooner, but to keep the students safe, infection rates down, and continuing to keep our classrooms open. Even in hospitals, where disinfection is crucial, multiple studies have shown that manual disinfection alone is only about 50% effective, and 30% of high-touch surfaces are missed entirely. With the effectiveness of the R-Zero Arc, we have the opportunity to bring infection prevention to a new high standard. In fact, the R-Zero Arc has helped maintain a 0% COVID-19 transmission at LeRoy Community School District while keeping students and staff in person.

“Our data right now is supporting that [Arc] is working. Both the emotional (EQ aspect) providing certainty with our people...and kids just aren't getting sick.”

—Gary Tipsord, LeRoy CUSD, Illinois

This is good news that is beneficial past the current COVID-19 crisis. Due to extra pandemic response measures, Western Australian children had a decrease in the flu by a huge 99.4%, even with the schools being open with in-person classes (Clinical Infectious Diseases, September 2020). With the Arc making disinfection quicker, safer, and more accessible, that means less students, staff and teachers getting sick, period.

Visible Results

Disinfection is an invisible process, but the results don’t have to be. The R-Zero Arc comes with cloud-based analytics software that collects data from all your UV-C devices and puts it all in an easy-to-read dashboard. This means managers can look at their device usage and compliance in real-time, making sure everything is running smoothly and effectively. The software creates exportable reports that verify disinfection, meaning you have tangible results you can show your organization and community, building their confidence in the safety of your school.

Safety Bringing Savings

Schools rely on very strict budgets, and every dollar counts. The Arc has a huge ROI, with both short- and long-term savings. Manual disinfection is time-consuming and expensive. You have to pay for a constant supply of chemicals and for the staff’s time to disinfect, which right now is typically 3x more than pre-covid (not to mention 30% of surfaces still get missed) . Electrostatic spraying requires a dedicated operator at all times, and ongoing chemical refills, plus specific PPE. With the Arc, you can save up to 90% of disinfection labor costs, and an obvious 100% of chemical costs, since it does not require any.

Those are the immediate savings, but the return on your investment goes beyond that. Annually, poor health costs US employers $530 billion, and teachers are constantly exposed to infection more than other employees in more isolated spaces. The bottom line is, sick days and poor health cost money.

Seamlessly Integrate Into Your Existing Operations

No one works harder than our teachers and school staff. They’ve been working even harder since the pandemic. Bringing in the Arc UV-C system is not only easy to introduce into your workflows, it can save time and increase productivity.

Arc Zero Handle 4 button system

The R-Zero Arc was designed to be easy to operate, so custodial staff can use it in tandem with their standard equipment with little to no extra effort. Manual disinfection takes 15-20 minutes. Each Arc cycle only takes 2 minutes of touch time— roll into place, push a button, and staff can move to another room while the Arc runs in the other. Because there is no chemical residue, it is safe to re-enter the room immediately after the cycle completes.

Contact Us

Here at OTW, safety is our goal. We are committed to finding custom solutions for each of our clients and their needs. We are excited about the R-Zero Arc UV-C system, which reaches our high standard of safety, and is made right here in the USA. Please Contact Us to answer any questions and customize a safety solution for you.