New disinfecting robots help keep classrooms clean in DMV

Schools in Virginia and now in Maryland have robots at the ready to help keep classrooms clean during the pandemic.

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Manassas City Public Schools have been using the Adibot since August, and on Thursday, Prince George’s Co. Public Schools started using the devices as well.

The Adibot uses ultraviolet light to kill viruses and bacteria.

"We were trying to figure out what hospitals use to sanitize their operating rooms," said Andy Hawkins, Executive Director of Finance and Operations for Manassas City Public Schools.

The district purchased 40 Adibots, one for every nighttime custodian at the district’s nine schools.

"Everything that the light hits, any virus, any impurity in the air, it doesn’t just have to be COVID, it could be mold, mildew, the common cold, flu germs, whatever, it will kill it," Hawkins said.

A spokesperson for Prince George’s Co. Public Schools said the district purchased 51
devices that will be rotated through school buildings.

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Adibots cost $15,000 to $20,000 a piece depending on how many are purchased, according to a company spokeswoman. Both school districts say they used federal pandemic funds for the purchase.

The devices have safety mechanisms to prevent people from being exposed to the powerful UVC light that’s emitted.

The robots are connected to safety signs that should be displayed outside a classroom being disinfected.

"We have the safety sign that’s connected via Bluetooth to the device, and the device will not run without that safety sign being turned on and enabled," said maintenance foreman, Matt Barton.

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There are also sensors on the robots that are supposed to recognize if someone does walk in. Barton says he put it to the test.

"It’s about one step into the room and it shuts off," Barton said.

This device is made by UBTech, a company with a mission to a bring a robot into every home and business.

The company’s website shows it also has a robot that will take your temperature and check for a mask. Another can navigate on its own and claims to have human emotions.