Minnehaha Academy turns to high-tech solution amid pandemic

Alex Jokich
Updated: July 31, 2020 06:14 PM
Created: July 31, 2020 06:11 PM

Schools across Minnesota are looking at ways to make their buildings safe for students and staff in the final countdown to the new academic year.

Minnehaha Academy in Minneapolis is installing a bipolar ionization system to purify the air inside.

"The system we're using is called needlepoint bipolar ionization," said Upper School Principal Mike DiNardo. "At any time, it'll be removing over 90% of those virus particles."

The system will connect to the school's existing rooftop HVAC units.

According to manufacturer Global Plasma Solutions, the technology uses an electric charge to generate positive and negative ions that can attach to particles and pathogens in the air. The company's website said: "The ions kill pathogens by robbing them of life-sustaining hydrogen." The website said the technology also does not form ozone or other harmful byproducts.

Minnehaha Academy will install the system before the new school year starts on Aug. 27.

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DiNardo said it will be used in the lower school, middle school and upper school to clean the air in all classrooms, libraries and common areas.

"Doctors' offices and hospitals use this kind of technology," DiNardo explained. "And we're excited to be able to have similar technology to keep all of our people who are going to be here safe."

DiNardo said Minnehaha Academy has other changes planned for the fall as well, including building an outdoor roof deck to host some classes outside, when possible.

They are also spacing out desks and tables, putting in hand sanitizer stations and hiring extra custodians for daily deep cleaning. He said staff will work to make sure students follow social distancing protocols when they return next month.

"Our theme for the year is: let's stay apart so we can stay together," DiNardo said.

Minnehaha Academy will also offer distance learning for families who prefer that option.

The school serves around 800 students from preschool through 12th grade.

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