The Conroe ISD board of trustees unanimously approved giving Superintendent Curtis Null the authority to authorize a payment that does not exceed $1.7 million for the purchase of biodefense indoor air protection systems at a regular meeting on Sept. 21.

According to Rick Reeves, CISD director of purchasing and warehouse, the air protection systems are machines that use a heated filter to catch and kill viruses without increasing the temperature of the room.

According to Integrated Viral Protection Solutions, the company supplying the machines, the systems kill COVID-19 at a rate of 99.999%. In addition, the machines kill other airborne pathogens, such as influenza, strep throat and chicken pox, and air pollutants such as allergens and mold.

The funding is expected to come from the district’s general funds. Null said the district will seek grant money for funding as well.

According to Reeves, the units are being used in over 100 health care facilities, including MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston Methodist Hospital and St. Joseph Medical Center.

Garrett Peel, a representative with IVP Solutions, said the devices are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and endorsed by the American Society of Chemical Engineers. The devices are used by the Texas Education Agency and other school districts, such as Galveston ISD.

“If there is a virus in the airstream, this technology will kill it instantly,” Peel said.

According to Null, the machines may be introduced into campuses in the next month. The district will place larger units in high traffic areas, such as cafeterias and libraries, and smaller units in classrooms experiencing COVID-19 outbreaks. The units have previously been tested on various CISD campuses.

Null said the implementation plan includes initially deploying the machines in every campus clinic and as well as campuses experiencing outbreaks before expanding into every CISD campus.

“We do see the benefit well beyond COVID[-19],” Null said during the meeting. “Even when we get past [COVID-19], still, I think it has the benefit of making a healthier environment for our children and our teachers, and we think that’s important.”