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A&M Central Texas adds ultraviolet lights to air systems to kill COVID-19

Texas A&M Central Texas
Posted at 5:44 PM, Oct 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-12 18:44:19-04

Like most universities across the country, A&M Central Texas have had positive COVID cases since the return to in-person learning.

In addition to their current sanitation measures, they are adding UV lights to the air conditioning systems to kill COVID-19 and other airborne irritants.

From the very start, the Beck Family Heritage Hall had UV lights built in the plans.

The idea seemed a little ahead of its time but now in the coronavirus era it almost feels like a necessity.

Hydro-static sprayers, sanitation stations, and now UV lights all working together to minimize the risk of catching COVID on campus.

“It protects our faculty our staff and our students by killing the virus before I can get to them. When the air comes into the building it goes through the air handler goes out and before it goes out, we’re killing the virus,” said Sean Kelly.

It was an ongoing plan to install UV lighting in all buildings on campus, but Sean Kelly A&M Central Texas Risk Management and Safety Officer, says the threat of COVID just sped the process up.

Mold, bacteria and other irritants floating through the air will be instantly destroyed.

“Anything that’s airborne coming into the building coming through the building into the air handler system it’s going to get killed before it goes out into the classrooms the offices so it’s a win-win," Kelly said.

“UV light will kill any living cell anything that’s going through the air-stream will be killed by the UV light,” said Ted Renolds.

For over two decades, Ted Renolds, A&M Central Texas' Facility Director, has been working with H-Vac systems.

He says UV lighting is so powerful they have to wear protective gear to prevent injury to the eyes or skin, but the risk is worth the reward.

“This type of system you can buy for your home you can buy for industrial I personally recommend this for all schools because it will help keep the colds and the flu down and now, we have COVID-19 which is going to get rid of that too,” said Reynolds.

The instillation can be time consuming and costly, but Kelly says it worth it to ensure the health of student's staff and faculty.

“We had one potential risk they ended up not getting anybody else infected so we’ve been pretty safe and we’ve been pretty lucky so far we just wanted to add another measure of protection so we can continue to say safe," Kelly said.

It takes about 3 to 4 days per floor for the lights to be installed. So, in about three weeks, the UV lights will also be up and running in the other two buildings here on campus Founders and Warrior Hall.