Experimental device detects symptom spikes in classrooms

Coronavirus

(NEXSTAR) — Clorox has developed an experimental device to help detect an increase in symptoms such as fevers, coughs and sneezes in the classroom.

With schools returning to in-person learning, the device is meant to help educators make more informed decisions about classroom safety amid the coronavirus pandemic, the company said.

“This school year is unlike any we have faced before, which is why we’re proud to expand upon our solutions for prevention and provide teachers and school administrators with a way to identify early illness symptoms,” Magnus Jonsson, Clorox’s vice president of cleaning, said in a statement.

The American Academy of Pediatrics reported last month that child cases of COVID-19 make up 10% of the U.S. total, an increase from 2% in April. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said cases in school-age children began increasing in early September as many returned to physical classrooms.

The new device alerts educators when a classroom has surpassed a predetermined symptom limit.

It uses thermal sensors to identify potential body temperature spikes, and device software detects upticks in coughs and sneezes.

When an increase in symptoms in the classroom surpasses the threshold, educators receive real-time notifications.

“Each year, schools face the challenge of preventing one cough or sneeze from turning into a cold or flu outbreak,” the company said in a statement. “For schools that have decided to resume in-person learning, the added pressure of SARS-Cov-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, means taking every possible safety precaution is of the utmost importance.”

To ensure the privacy of those in the classroom, information gathered by the device is “anonymized and never recorded or saved” so that only the symptoms are identifiable, Clorox said.

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