AKRON, Ohio — As we enter the fall flu and COVID-19 season, Akron Public Schools is working to keep students and bus drivers healthy with some upgraded cleaning and disinfecting technology recently added to its fleet of new school buses.
Patricia Rodgers is deeply passionate about her job and loves getting behind the wheel as an Akron Public Schools bus driver.
“You start to really start viewing the children as your own, and they view you as someone who truly cares," said Rodgers.
Being in a confined space with so many children each day though she's caught in the middle, navigating her way through the pandemic, the common cold, and countless routes.
“Everyday germs that we come across—I mean, children are just almost like a Petri dish in a way," said Rodgers.
Akron Public Schools has now introduced an upgraded, game-changing disinfectant system to its fleet of nine new buses.
It’s called the Transmit PRO from Transit Safety Solutions Plus.
Rodgers and her boss Bill Andexler showed News 5 exactly how it works.
With one simple touch of a button, it sprays disinfectant on the buses.
The newest touch is that the system also fully filters air throughout the space.
It's a one-two punch when it comes to killing germs and improving health and wellness.
The entire process takes roughly 15 minutes.
“Actually helps keep the air a little cleaner so that added protection really, really helps," said Rodgers.
News 5 followed along as crews carefully installed the devices on the bus and tested out the operation.
There’s not just one filtration system on each bus, but two.
The second is located all the way to the back of the bus.
School Covid relief funds successfully covered the cost of the $40,000 upgrades.
District officials say there are multiple long-term benefits.
Most importantly, it’s efficient, saves time for drivers from having to wipe down surfaces, and keeps everyone healthy in a time when so many are getting sick.
“The drivers don’t have to do the manual spraying of the buses," said Bill Andexler, Transportation Coordinator Akron Public Schools.
"A lot of comfort and I really appreciate that," said Rodgers.
These devices come from a company in Michigan.
Andexler says they are specifically built to fight bacteria, viruses, and mold.
He says they plan to add the system to more buses in the near future once they secure additional funding.