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Luzerne County school district buys high-tech disinfecting machine

The machine has special fans to distribute the steam into every nook and cranny of a room and it takes about 45 minutes to full sanitize a classroom.

LUZERNE COUNTY, Pa. — The Altapure AP-4 is a machine you might find in a hospital or nursing home.

Now, there's one inside the Hazle Township Early Learning Center.

The distributor says the machine is an automatic, touchless, hospital grade machine that sprays an aerosol disinfectant product.

It comes out as looking like smoke but continues to work even after it vaporizes.

The machine has special fans to distribute the steam into every nook and cranny of a room, and it takes about 45 minutes to fully sanitize a classroom.

Reps for the product say it can kill the COVID-19 virus, as well as other viruses, spores, and bacteria.

Officials say Hazleton Area is now the first public school district in the country to have one of these machines.

"That's why it's so important the Hazleton area school district stepped up.  We're gonna deploy this here in Northeastern Pennsylvania, and set a new standard of excellence in covid 19 mitigation, safety and mitigation efforts," said State Senator John Yudichak, Independent in the 14th District.

A pennsylvania based company called BiohiTech Global, known for distributing state of the art waste management systems, had to pivot during the pandemic to keep its business afloat.  

That's when the company teamed up with Altapure to distribute the machines and bring this process into schools.

"It's been used in the United States for years. It just hasn't been used in verticals like higher education and hospitality.  That's kind of where we come in. Let's take this product and take these benefits hospitals have been receiving for all these years and provide them to parents and faculty in schools," said Frank Celli, Biohitech Global CEO.

The Hazleton Area superintendent says this will help ease the transition from online learning back to the classroom and minimize chances of reclosing once students are back in classrooms.

"It gives me an extra sense of relief.  We have that ability to move it around the district in the event that we have an outbreak, fortunately. We don't want one," said Brian Uplinger, superintendent.

The machine was purchased with government grant money obtained through the cares act.  

The machine costs $105,000.