Jones County School District sees decrease in bus driver outages due to new technology

Like so many across the nation, Jones County schools have suffered from employee absences during the pandemic.
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Jones County School District installs new technology helping reduce bus driver outages
Bus Driver Outages

GRAY, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) — Like so many across the nation, Jones County schools have suffered from employee absences during the pandemic.

That’s why the Jones County School District installed a new technology called the ‘Pure Aire 750 Mobile.’ It’s designed to make a difference in the air you breathe.

Wendy Vaughn, the school system’s director of transportation, says the district had little to no bus drivers available prior to the installation of the system because they were out sick.

“Parents were having to come take their kids to school and pick them up in the afternoon,” she said. “And it just progressively got worse before it ever got better.”

As many as 18 bus drivers were out sick at one time.

“We had the disinfecting and the cleaning the buses and making sure that they were secure for the students to load and unload,” Vaughn said. “But when they’re on the bus, what about that air they’re breathing?”

When thinking of how to tackle the problem, Henderson Chemical company came in to help. They heard of Greentech, a company that specializes in air purification systems.

124 total units were installed on buses in November, each costing $700. The school district used American Rescue Plan funds to pay for two systems on each bus.

The district says just three drivers have called out sick since.

So how does the technology work?

Tim Haywood, the National Distributor Sales Coordinator for Greentech, explains.

“What it’s doing is called active air purification,” he said. “We’re putting purifying agents into the air, all very natural things that you would experience outside to actually clean the air outside the bus.”

Haywood says Jones County leaders are seeing how much it has helped keep everyone in a close proximity healthier.

“One of the biggest things people notice right off the bat is the smell,” Haywood said. “If it smells clean, it is clean. We’re not covering anything up. What we’re doing is actually killing the things that make it smell bad.”

The filters are cleaned every 60 days to ensure proper function.

The school district is now looking into purchasing ‘Pure Air Solo’s,’ which work similar to the current system but can be worn around a person’s neck.

Categories: COVID-19, Education, Health, Jones County, Local News, WMGT

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