#schoolsafety | COVID Westchester: New Rochelle schools spend $3 million on coronavirus-related safety protocols

NEW ROCHELLE, New York (WABC) — We’re getting a first-look at the measures one school district in Westchester County is taking to ensure the safety of their students and staff.School will begin with a temperature check and there are 62 scanners.

Not only have the floors been marked for social distancing, every inch has been treated with an anti-microbial coating.

But that’s just the beginning of the safety measures in place at New Rochelle schools.

The school year has started remotely, but in-person instruction will be phased in starting next month.

RELATED | NYC back-to-school change: Phased-in start for in-person classes

It’s a particular challenge at New Rochelle High School, the second largest in New York State.The school’s 3,400 students will be divided into three groups.

“Obviously the fewer kids we have in the building the easier it’s going to be to maintain social distancing,” principal Steven Goldberg said.

The district has spent nearly $3 million on COVID-related safety measures, from big items like electrostatic sprayers, to small ones like the 12,000 new floor glides at the base of every single desk and chair.

Teachers say they feel safe, yet remain cautious.

“It’s the Catch-22 that we’re all facing. We all want to be with our kids, but COVID is not some myth,” English teacher Dee Gordon said. “How do you balance what you’ve done for 21 years versus the new reality?”

Perhaps the most critical element is air quality. MERV-15 filters have been installed in classroom vents and on rooftop air handlers.

Seventy-five percent of the building’s air circulates through these massive units. There are 14, and each comes with 25 filters that can now block out bacteria and viruses.

“One thing is not going to do it,” said Keith Watkins, assistant director of facilities. “It’s the combination of many layers of protection coming together to provide the safest and cleanest environment.”

With the goal of creating the safest environment possible.

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