WS/FCS launches first bipolar ionization cleaning in the state

Published 6:07 pm Thursday, January 14, 2021

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Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools is the first district in North Carolina to implement a new cleaning and air filtration process known as bipolar ionization. The small ionization boxes are integrated into existing HVAC systems to produce better air quality in classrooms.

The installation process has already been completed at 29 elementary schools and 6 middle and high schools. The systems will be in all elementary schools by the end of January. Installation will continue through spring until every school has been retrofitted. Ionization boxes have already been placed in COVID isolation rooms at every school.

“This will be a game changer for our district and something to be proud of,” said Darrell Walker, assistant superintendent of operations. “This will not only help us provide clean air in the age of COVID, it will help us during flu season and even with the common cold and we’re the first district in the state to offer this type of advanced air cleaning.”

The bipolar ionization process produces positive and negative ions that render any virus inactive. Air is drawn into the ionization boxes and moved through a filter before being sent back out as clean air.

The ions also attach to breath droplets and dust particles that can transport viruses, enlarging them so they’re more easily caught in filters. This process will provide continuous disinfection.

WS/FCS began the process through funding from its capital project ordinance and Federal CARES funds. The Forsyth County commissioners assisted with the cost of extending the new ionization systems by providing an additional $500,000 to the school system to complete the installation process.