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GUV: Making Schools Safe Again

Empty classroom

Entering September, we are reminded of the stark reality that there's a long way to go before life is back to "normal" again. This school year, students will not be returning to the classroom, but instead, will become acquainted with their new virtual Zoom classroom, virtual teacher, and virtual friends.

As frustrations grow, we are reminded that this won't last forever, and as a community, will find a way to pick up the pieces.

We're ready to get children back into the classroom, but the common question remains, "How?"

Our suggestion? With GUV.

What is it?

GUV stands for germicidal ultraviolet radiation. Unlike visible light, it is invisible radiant energy in the 100-380 nanometer range. Certain wavelengths of UV, specifically UV-C between 200 to 280 nanometers, can kill bacteria and inactivate virus RNA at the proper dosages.

UV-C Germicidal scale

UV-C has a shorter wavelength, so any UV-C produced by the sun is absorbed into the atmosphere. However, when you create UV “light” via mercury vapor lamps, pulsed xenon, or even limited LED sources, the short wavelength at the right doses can travel far enough to disinfect surfaces, air, and water. For this reason, UV-C fixtures have been used for decades in closed, controlled environments like water treatment plants and commercial air-handling units.

GUV is completely chemical free, so employees no longer have to handle toxic cleaning agents, and microbes cannot develop resistance to it.

GUV in Schools

Surprisingly, GUV is not a new scientific discovery.

In the 1930s and 40s, some schools throughout the country were taking new measures to protect student health. In the Philadelphia area, there were a few schools that installed GUV upper air-handling fixtures in classrooms to reduce student illnesses.

GUV Upper-air handlers work by producing UV-C radiant energy in the upper portion of the room. The UV energy at this wavelength kills bacteria and inactivates viruses in the upper room. The clean, disinfected air is pushed down by a central fan, and potentially infected air is circulated to the upper area where it is cleaned and then pushed down.

The best example of its effectiveness was found in 1941, at the Germantown Friends School, during a severe measles outbreak in and around Philadelphia. Germantown Friends School had GUV fixtures in the primary grade classrooms, but not in the upper-grade classrooms, which created a natural control group to compare.

In that school year, during the measles outbreak, only 15% of non-immune students in the primary grade classes got sick with measles, versus over half of non-immune students in the upper-grade classrooms. This is a huge reduction in illness rates between the GUV-enabled classrooms and the classrooms without such a system.

With such great success in the 1940s, why didn’t schools throughout the US equip this technology in their classrooms?

It’s possible the technology was too costly to implement across the country, and widespread adoption of vaccines for combating measles and antibiotics for other dangerous illnesses were more effective in preventing student illness, eliminating their usefulness.

Schools Today

Now in the age of COVID-19, with parents forced to become teachers at home, many while maintaining full-time jobs themselves, the implementation of GUV is more necessary than ever.

Available in various form factors, mobile units, or hard-wired retrofit solutions, GUV is an affordable solution for schools and businesses of every size. Since COVID-19 can still be transmitted through close personal contact, GUV is not the only resource that should be used in interior spaces. But, coupled with social distancing measures and masks, GUV is by far, the most effective and safe solution.

Through GUV disinfection systems, we aim to get students back to school, and back to being kids again.

Kids at recess

Is GUV right for you?

Contact us to learn more, and configure your GUV solution today.


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