BELLFLOWER, Calif. — Up close the desks, the chairs and the whiteboards in school classrooms might look the same, but it’s clear that when you take a step back, a lot has changed.
With safety measures liked plexiglass, spacing, signage, and of course masks, St. John Bosco High School has been able to welcome back students like senior Nicolas Toney, and almost half of its students, in a staggered model.
“I love it. It’s great because after being home for so long, you don’t really get that community aspect and Bosco’s a brotherhood,” Tony says.
But Bosco teachers like Mario Cordero, who’s an alumnus of the all-boys Catholic school in Bellflower, are taking their protocols a step further.
In addition to following the L.A. County approved cohort system, the school is providing teachers with an enhanced layer of defense.
Cordero is using a product called D-Fenz on an empty desk. It’s a surface protectant that’s supposed to kill germs, including COVID-19, for 28 days. And that’s just on the surface.
Bosco has now invested several hundred thousand dollars in sanitizers, surface protectants and a purification technology to be installed in February called Puradigm. According to the company, it's the only purifier of its kind to be tested on the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19.
Bosco says it's the first educational institution of any kind to use it.
It’s welcome news for Cordero, who isn’t just a teacher, but also a father.
“I appreciate the fact the school has done, I think any and everything in their power to keep our school safe,” Cordero said.
Dr. Greg Shepard has been marketing and selling the products with Back2Normal.tech. Bosco made the move to purchase them after seeing they were used in the state of Texas’s Capitol Complex.
Of Puradigm specifically, Bosco ordered 71 room units and 130 “go,” or personal units for staff. The units are intended to provide a sort of aura of defense.
According to Shepard, millions of negative and positive ions form high energy clusters that work through the air and on surfaces. After about 15 minutes, they can deactivate nearly 75% of COVID viruses. After 24 hours, the virus should be undetectable.
“What these high energy clusters do, they kind of search and destroy and attack any virus, bacteria, mold, mildew and off gassing,” Shepard said.
For Cordero the protocols and technology lessens “gaps” as he calls them, in interaction.
“One of the things that I miss about having the boys here is that you have them close to you. There’s that real contact. They’re working in groups, they’re participating, they’re raising their hands, they’re laughing,” Cordero said.
And for Toney, in a year that’s been anything but normal, he’s happy to be able to recover something from what he and his peers have missed out on.
“Everyone’s complaining that we didn’t have a senior year, and I’m very grateful that our school is one of the schools that’s taken all of these safety precautions to allow the seniors and a lot of the students to come back part-time to experience some part of school,” Toney said.
He's still behind a piece of glass, but he's spending less time in front of a screen.